Car thieves kill to cover up their crime
Gwinnett County Police Officer Marvin Gravitt was not feeling well. He was working a midnight shift on April 17, 1964, and needed to tap out. Two of his fellow officers, Jerry Everett and Ralph Davis, offered him a ride home. The three would never make it to Gravitt’s house.
On the way to drop the ailing Gravitt, a call for suspicious activity came over the radio. They trio were driving by that location and decided to pick up the job. In the woods near an abandoned house they found two cars being worked on by three men. One of the men was Alex Evans, a former Gwinnett Sheriff who had been fired for moonshining and stealing vouchered property. He apparently had not given up his life of crime. The trio were working on a stolen car. They were doing a tag job, taking a VIN (vehicle identification number) off a wrecked car that they purchased and putting it on a stolen car to “clone” the damaged vehicle. (I didn’t know that was done back then)
The two other perps, Venson Williams and Wade Truett, attempted to flee but were soon apprehended and brought back to the scene. Alex Evans, taking advantage of the fact that all three knew him to be a former cop, had produced a gun and disarmed Officer Everett. Holding Everett as a hostage, he was able to disarm and handcuff Officers Gravitt and Davis.
The perps drove the officers deeper into the woods. As Wade Truett hid their squad car, Venson Williams decided to kill all three handcuffed cops. He discharged 14 rounds into the trio, killing them all. All three perps then fled the scene, discarding evidence as the left.
The missing officers were not found until the next day. The horrible crime scene was cordoned off and meticulously searched. The cops pistols and flashlights were found nearby. Footprints and tire tracks indicated three perps, but there was not much else to go on. The burned up stolen car was later located.
Careful canvassing led to a tip. A man had heard Williams and Evans talking about stealing a car to clone. That led to the purchase of the identical wrecked car by an associate of Vernon Williams. As several more pieces came together, investigators decided to interview Wade Truett, who was facing unrelated charges. He gave it up, and was able to back up his confession with additional evidence. Some great detective work put the case together out of very little initial evidence.
Truett agreed to testify against Williams and Evans. His testimony led to convictions of his partners in crime for the murder of three of Georgia’s Finest.