The Atlanta Constitution from Atlanta, Georgia on April 25, 1981 · 5
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The Atlanta Constitution from Atlanta, Georgia · 5

Atlanta, Georgia
Issue Date:
Saturday, April 25, 1981
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Tha Atlanta Journal WEEKEND Tha Atlanta Constitution 5-A CORE Witness' Dad Says She 'Would Lie' By Ken Willis Constitution Staff Writer MIAMI - Shirley McGill, the Congress of Racial Equality's "secret witness" in the Atlanta child-killings, "would lie in a minute," according to her father. Miss McGill is a barmaid who works in Liberty City here at Tiny's 22 Package Store & Lounge, a Jwo-toned gray concrete building in the middle of a ghetto. The bloody Miami riots last year occurred less than a mile from the bar. The 32-year-old woman's parents, Willie and Maybelle McGill, said they were shocked to learn this week of her claim to know the identity of the killer of several young blacks in Atlanta. "Shirley jean would make up anything," said Maybelle JUcGill, and Willie McGill echoed her sentiments. The operators of Tiny's remember the time two years ago when Miss McGill was passing round the story that her sister had died and was taking up a sympathy collection from her colleagues and friends there. Her sister had not died, the operators said they later discovered. Yet investigators from CORE believed her story sufficiently to spirit her away to Atlanta last .week, apparently without telling her parents what was going on. The story that Shirley McGill disclosed to .representatives of The Atlanta Constitution Monday night at the urging of the CORE officials was an intriguing one: A former boyfriend who had moved .to Atlanta 2tt years ago had told her that he and .two other men were the killers. She had lived with the man off and on for 2V years, she said. Just before last Thanksgiving, he visited her in Miami and told her of his guilt. She figured he was trying to play on her sympathy, attempting to persuade her to live with him again, and she told him she didn't believe his story. Then, for the next few months, he called her regularly to tell her he had spotted more victim!;, and he told her their ages. The dates and ages corresponded closely to the disappearances in the city, but she was not precise enough during the interview for reporters to determine if her former boyfriend might have been disclosing unique infor-. mation or gleaning it from the news media. From the story she told, it was clear the man did not like children. He even had beaten her and her I Ifc-year-old son on one occasion, she said. But accounts by some of those who know Shirley McGill here do not support parts of her story. For instance, it is not clear that she lived with a man for any extended period of time. The address she gave The Constitution for the house where they supposedly lived is non-existent, according to a Dade County official. Her parents say she lived with them, though she was "in and out a lot," according to her mother. Her boss at Tiny's said he always reached her at her parents' house, "and if she was living with a boyfriend, it was pretty secretive." Her 14-year-old son remembered the man, a cabdriver, but he said his mother only dated and did not live with the driver. The 14-year-old also said he does not know of a younger brother, and he says he was never beaten by the man named by his mother. Both the son and Miss McGill's parents claim that her former husband would occasionally beat both of them, however. He moved to Redlands, Calif., two years ago and is now an unemployed machinist. Jerry Rushin, a disc jockey for WEDR radio, also interviewed Miss McGill before she came to Atlanta, and he said Friday he was not sure whether she had lived with a man. "She spoke of him as a boyfriend of a close friend of hers, and then when I would ask her if he was her boyfriend, she'd say, 'Sort of,' " he said. Rushin, a popular deejay in the black community here, said the woman first began calling three or four weoks ago. When he did not return her phone calls, she contacted a friend, of his, Kimani Kenyatta, who then asked Rushin to call her. Kenyatta is an assistant manager of a Big Daddy's nightclub here, and he is a member of CORE. Kenyatta and George Holmes, an aide to civil rights activist Roy Innis, are the two CORE members who Monday first met with The Constitution concerning CORE'S purported witness. Asked whether he believed the woman's story, Rushin said, "You can't overlook it because it might be right . . . , but I'm just afraid Atlanta and America are getting excited over what will turn out to be a dead end." Innis declined Thursday night to allow The Constitution to interview Miss McGill again to ask her about discrepancies in her story. He said she might have been "nervous" when giving the newspaper the address and said her parents probably were denying any knowledge to protect themselves from possible harm by the suspect. However, Willie McGill told a reporter Friday that "I ain't afraid of nobody," and he insisted that he knew nothing about his daughter's story. He said that he noticed something suspicious going on last week when bodyguards were parked out in front of the house. Mrs. McGill said, however, that Shirley McGill had told others in the family that someone was out to get "Jack and her." Thadis Jackson ("Jack") is the owner of Tiny's. He said that Innis had told him that CORE members might have to take Miss McGill quickly sometime last week for something "very important." He said they never told him exactly what was going on. Then on Wednesday of last week, Jackson said, they took her away without notice, and he assumed they had gone to Atlanta. Suspect Continued From Page 1-A the three adult homicide victims whose slayings are being investigated by the police special task force probing the slayings and disappearances of 26 young blacks. Brown said the Payne case was still being investigated by the Atlanta Police Bureau's missing persons squad. The case, he added, had not been transferred to the task force. Flanked by several CORE associates, Innis said the organization would pick up its "investigation" of the cases - focusing on the "suspect" once more. He said he would "send back my people into the field." At a Wednesday news conference on the steps of Atlanta City Hall, Innis said the organization had a "witness" in protective custody who knew a man involved in as many as six of the killings. That man had been "under surveillance" by CORE in recent weeks, he added. Innis said Friday that he had lifted the surveillance when the FBI entered the case. He would not say whether the organization would begin watching the man again. The CORE official said he had not questioned the "suspect" himself, but added, "I didn't apprehend him, either, for which I'm sorry." He declined to say whether the CORE would try to question the man, although he said Wednesday that the 5 roup would "collar him" if police did not arrest him by Satur-ay afternoon. Brown said Innis' statements, and the attention they received from reporters, "heightened the tension" in Atlanta about the killings. "We appreciate the fact that many people have beliefs and theories about the cases, but those theories are best handled by law enforcement without public fanfare," he said. Brown said that he had advised Innis about possible legal Eroblems if CORE tries to question or detain the man. But nnis said, "He has not told me any such thing, but he can take his best shot." ' For now, Brown said police do not have plans to bring any kind of charges against Innis. In a related development Friday, 34-year-old Larry Marshall was arraigned and entered a plea of innocent in Fulton County Superior Court on charges of criminal attempt to com mit armed robbery. Brown said task force investigators are interested in talking to Marshall, but so far he has refused to answer questions from police about the child cases. "Our interest in Mr. Marshall is predicated on the infor mation' that be knew one of the children. We have never considered him a suspect," Brown said. But Innis said "the individual you call Larry Marshall" was identified by his "witness," and he said Marshall and the CORE suspect in the cases know each other. "She (the witness) identified the individual you call Larry Marshall, but she identified him under a different name. Larry Marshall and my suspect have worked together. I am con vinced that both have knowledge" of the cases, Innis said. Marshall and his attorney have been trying to convince Fulton County District Attorney Lewis Slaton to provide protective custody for Marshall and drop the charges against him. Reward Of $100,000 Offered In Slayings A $100,000 reward is being offered for information that leads police to the person or persons responsible for the killings and disappearances of young Atlanta blacks In the past 21 monthi Anyone with information should call the Atlanta Police Bureau's special task force on child slayings. The numbers to call are: 658-6818, 658-6824, 658-7469, 658-7477 or 658-7478. r STZZTiZZ MOM l!l ! TifdrMII V)tL ftarmnrtl tn4 nl ! I exceptional quality, delivered to J your Atlanta area installation I I site for as little as 12.9 cents l per so, ft., in 9000 ft trailer- loads. 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