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This podcast is intended for mature audiences, listener discretion is advised.

[00:00:18]

After an emotional meeting with family members of Reid, Oliver Fleming and his wife Lois, the elderly couple brutally murdered in 1973, Stoney seems to have found some solace in the fact that the family not only now doubts that Billy Burke committed the crime, but also that their entire view of Billy, Bert and Stoney has changed.

[00:00:40]

There's no longer any ill will to be found.

[00:00:44]

And those Stoney's entire mission has been to prove to the world that his father, though he was a cold blooded killer for hire who deserved to be in prison, was not the savage torturing monster he was made out to be by GMW. And it seems, at least as far as the members of the Flemming's extended family are concerned, he was not.

[00:01:07]

But the people have power and the people who are victims, they know him as the monster the most feared, no conscious mental, no take take that away.

[00:01:19]

You can't underestimate that. That's been 50 years. And so there's no secrets about him left.

[00:01:26]

But in our investigation over the past few months, we've been trying to locate with the help of cadaver dogs, the body of Billy Wayne Davis's mistress in order to hopefully connect Davis to that murder and try to prove that his testimony in the Fleming case could not be trusted as well.

[00:01:43]

The reality is that Burke was sentenced to death for the Flemyng murder solely on Davis's testimony and the eyewitness accounts, placing him 10 miles outside of Wren's Georgia on the night of the murder. It's not exactly a bulletproof case.

[00:01:57]

Davis had denied knowing anything about the mistress. In fact, he denied even having a mistress at all. Yet Birte described in detail the events surrounding the murder. There is a bit of he said she said here. But really, why would Byrd admit to killing a woman in the first place if he was already facing the death penalty? As both Billy Burt and Bobby Jean Gaddis have since passed away, the only one who could shed any light on all of this is Billie Jean Davis.

[00:02:30]

But whatever happened to Billy Wayne Davis? It has been nothing but misery. No family, no blessings, total isolation. Ridicule despised by other comics. Nevertheless, as my father paid. I know this sounds like rambling, but see, this is stuff that goes through my mind when I rationalize and try to make damn sure that I'm telling my grandkids and my son what I know. Let me put it this way below. When Davis is not a son like me who should really want our grandson like Stone or any other my brothers, sisters, kids, he hadn't had the benefit of his grandbabies just wallowing live on him the entire time.

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I find the price he is paid is unimaginable. I thought the price my father paid is as bad as most people can imagine, but I can't imagine the price. Little mind about pay because it had none of that. All they've had is cold. Hard is we're in a Russian submarine, prison acetylation, scared of all of the convicts, no family, no friends, no visits, no nothing. Not only that, he is still hoping for parole.

[00:04:02]

Still alive and still in prison. It seems that after all this time, Davis is still a protected witness in prison, it can only be due to the fact that he made a deal with Jim West to rat out Billy Burke.

[00:04:19]

And in the convict world, you don't want to be a rat in prison. We asked Joe Robinson in Walton County, Sheriff Joe Chapman, if they might be able to visit Davis in prison, and they agreed, the audio you're about to hear is that of Billy Wayne Davis himself.

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This is the first time since his conviction that anyone has ever heard Billie Jean Davis speak from prison. Well, for years now, everybody's saying this is very good news.

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Well, let me tell you how I got involved.

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Sheriff Chapman gets right to the point with his questions for Davis.

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Well, we have been talking the story.

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Of course, you came up with these bootlegs.

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And so they wanted us to come down here and just ask you if his dad was really involved in Iran's murder.

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He think the time that it was and he said you were the only one that would know if he was. If he wasn't.

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Yes, because we asked you that and I gave my word, I said our goodbyes, and that's what I'll do.

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Davis immediately resorts to deflecting and clams up the range of the Ren's case.

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Who is that?

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It's part of the whole reason you've spent the past 48, eight years in prison.

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Remember a lot of the old man. Well, I guess it was flamin a case.

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I don't know what happened to it.

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And you don't know it.

[00:06:27]

Well, we've heard Tigger's at times Joe Robinson Walk's Davis through the story Stoney's shared with him verbatim from his father about how Davis committed the murder of the elderly Flemyng couple in Ren's, Georgia in 1973.

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Davis sits quietly and listens. His demeanor changes slightly before he gives a simple cold response.

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Unless you know for well, leaf. He just says, I'll have to let you know before we leave from here. The two men continue to press Davis not only on the Flemyng murder, but also of the woman Billy Birte claimed was his mistress. But he stays tight lipped up in the Senate.

[00:07:23]

Davis is right in saying that the man who's accused him of being guilty for the murder is dead, referring to Billy Burt.

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So what now? The fact that Davis is eligible for parole is keeping him quiet and in the end of the interview, he decided he would wait to see the outcome of the parole hearing before talking any more about the Fleming murders. It seems there may be only one way to get Davis to confess if Stoney's claims are indeed true, having Davis take a lie detector test. And the only way that's likely to happen is to find the woman's body on the banks of the Mulberry River.

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The song is very rough and I can't do it, but. The interrogation of Davis provided nothing useful. You basically denied being a part of or having any knowledge of murder. When Joe Robinson asked Davis what he was in prison for, he said bank robbery, which isn't true. He didn't get life in prison for that. He got life in prison for the murder of a man named Charles Mack Sibley. And that was based on burts testimony. So why is he being misleading?

[00:08:39]

What does he have to hide? Why does he say he was nothing compared to Billy Burt? Criminally speaking, that is, he's 79 years old now and maybe his health is failing or his mind is slipping. But when I told former special agent Bob Ingram about the Davis interrogation, he had another interpretation.

[00:08:58]

Davis was very, very clever. He's a he's a master. But the reputation is good and clever and smart because all of his efforts are criminal oriented. But the two of them together were extremely dangerous because what was very clever, very smart, but the devil was just flat out dangerous and what they had to do was cut a wide path.

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So maybe Davis is just playing dumb. Either way, he wasn't talking. And just as I started wondering, whatever happened to the result of the soil samples that Sheryl McCollum sent to the state crime lab, I got a message from the lab in Canada where the second set of samples were sent and each of the samples, unfortunately, tested negative for human DNA.

[00:09:49]

So what does that mean when the test results came back from the lab?

[00:09:53]

Negative. I have to say, first of all, I was a little surprised by it.

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I feel very, very strongly that we're the dogs alerted. There was something there. And that's the challenge. When you do soil samples, you have to get the right samples, maybe a little bit deeper, maybe a little bit more shallow. Absolutely. Do not give up the traces input.

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I feel a bit better. I also called Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman about our findings.

[00:10:22]

Well, I'm, of course, your first. You gave out on the cadaver dogs. I have never in 20 years had a cadaver dogs, anything from me. Never.

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It's absolutely a possibility that there are bodies out there, but you're looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack because look at look at the time, that's what you rely on. And this is a complete shot in the dark.

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Sheriff Chapman's response left me feeling a bit defeated, but as we talked more, he had another idea.

[00:11:06]

Well, the GBI would have records of that. I'm sorry. I'm certain the GBI was involved in. And when you ask about something like that, there's measurements and photographs. There's no one more knowledgeable about the Mafia.

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And this living today, while we had asked Bob Ingram for help, he hadn't yet come back with any information on the location of where Otis Redding was found.

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And we were told that the GBI would only be called in if a body was actually found.

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But Sheriff Chapman, who had already helped us close the 47 year old case of Jim Dolls and interrogated Billy Wayne Davis at our request, put the wheels in motion and finally might have given us the one resource we were unable to obtain on our own.

[00:11:59]

You've got to get the GBI involved and you got to warn them to be involved or they got to want to be involved. Well, you are. You want me to tell them we are here? After I talk to my GBI agents, I got one in mind. A young one is full of and vinegar and don't save the world. I can call in and see what he says. To date, all the members of the Dixie Mafia have since passed away, except for Davis, who will likely die in prison.

[00:12:41]

I don't wish you no harm.

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I can honestly tell you, with everything you sent me when my father forgave Davis in 93, I forgave him. And when my father told me how he and the first thing I furthermore forgave him. It's not about getting Davis. I really if they turned that was loose tomorrow, I'll be happy for him, as crazy as that sounds, because what he has been through is unimaginable to people who have not got just a dose of it, of what I said, most of those to total isolation, a dose of no love from anyone, a dose of no hope.

[00:13:23]

By all means, he's paid. Yes. And I wish him no more harm.

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As for Jim West, he retired after Bert's final trial and had his own share of troubles with the law. It seems he had befriended the sister of Jim Dolz, whose mental health had been deteriorating in her old age. Shortly before she died, she changed her will and left the families more than 270 acre farm to West, to no avail.

[00:13:51]

More than 15 members of the dog's family repeatedly tried suing West over this, claiming he had duped the woman into changing her will in her incapacitated state. He moved to Florida and was never heard from again. Since 1993, thousands of women have been murdered or disappeared along the border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

[00:14:21]

My name is Lydia Cacho and I am here to tell you the true story of the femicide. Sing Juarez, listen and subscribe to the red note right now on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts, you can also listen in Spanish. Just search for LANATA rocka in the same podcast app you are listening in now. True features the often weird but always true stories of strange events and unforgettable moments.

[00:14:57]

Each episode explores unusual, obscure, sometimes funny, sometimes creepy stories, stories that are so bizarre that you won't believe that the real. But they are because, yeah, they're true.

[00:15:10]

Listen and subscribe to True right now on Apple podcast or wherever you get your favorite shows. As for the woman known only as Davis's mistress, legally we can do no more without a search warrant and that at this point is entirely up to law officials in Hale County or if the GBI decides to reopen this case, I think that this woman, whoever she is, deserves to be found and identified. If there's any inkling of her location, she at least deserves the effort of us trying somewhere out there.

[00:15:51]

Her family is still wondering what happened to her because she just disappeared without a trace. They deserve closure and closure, no matter how difficult it is to accept is necessary. It's a definitive end to a person's story.

[00:16:07]

And Stoney found out for himself with his father before they moved him to wear state prison two years.

[00:16:14]

When we did he get so bad in Smith's state prison that his friends were having to put him in a chair and pick him up and told him that he had good friends. And even in that condition, they done it out of respect. He was revered by a lot of cons in there because of the man he would.

[00:16:33]

By 2015, Billy Byrd had developed Parkinson's disease, which was worsening, and he was moved to where state prison in Waycross, Georgia, which had the medical facility that could give him the proper care he now needed.

[00:16:46]

And when he woke, you would've thought that bringing in Chahal medicine, they mean here, had him locked down. And when we first come to see him, we couldn't see him. Top security, just like he just got a.. He was mad as hell. And what kind of stuff? And you say he was locked down. I mean, what? Oh, they had him chained up just like what? You see Hannibal Lecter. I mean, just like that, scared to death of him.

[00:17:09]

And so they try to turn those wiretaps. No, sir. I said we may come see him for now. Forty years. You tell me why you turned as well as. Let me see, Warden. I'm not leaving here. I walk out, I call them news, the governor, whoever I need to. They finally let us in here. Come or take baby steps like that in front of everybody except him. Then I show I've never seen him, man.

[00:17:37]

He's been in prison for 40 years. Had never just appeared to me respect anybody, ever known him. Guard Warden loved him because he was so respectful. So he was mad and I said, Daddy, just give it a week. That is natural for the people to be scared of you. I mean, they got your record. They looking at that's a small prison given week to if they get to know you. And I believe that by the third weekend they come out with a big smile on face.

[00:18:06]

They had getting to know him. The women loved him because he was so respectful, they cut them all off guard.

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The female nurses in the prison's infirmary came to truly enjoy Billy's company. One would even write a letter to the family years later stating how respectful and pleasant he was to be around.

[00:18:24]

I was kind of proud of that. And so for the remainder, his time was about six of those ladies treated him like their grandpa. Can you imagine how wonderful that made me? I don't feel.

[00:18:35]

But with every good grace that Billy Burt received, there was a price to pay. Maybe he was right after all. And saying that you reap what you sow seven fold. We sit in the bedroom.

[00:18:50]

I'll never miss the time. As we were two days old, jumping in that car has been a six hour visit with my dad every time. But he would tell stolen stuff and I didn't fully get it, why he was telling Stone about murders or something until I heard him through and I realized he was telling Stone what not to do and the consequences of what you do and doing. So he confessed, I'm all for it this particular time. Yes, I seen him go into contemplation and I knew he was talking about something about a two minute polls.

[00:19:27]

And he looked to him and he said, Stone, your papa. His hand was shaking that this right here, you know, Pakistani in Hollywood looking at him, shaking. He's a stone. You see this handson? He said your papa. He said it seemed to mantis. If you're going to take this whole time and look at him, he always relived the story. Who told he say sitting after he walked in on him. He's sitting in a chair of TV.

[00:20:00]

Don't get up close the whole time his hands are shaking, you look at his hand, he looks as though he said when a man got up and he comes down this way with his hand and a worse man, when he said this way, he amplified his shaking so worse he got quiet, made it because it was painful, like sitting there, he close eyes.

[00:20:21]

Now, he never showed their twisted mother fucker, but not over himself. Self pity. He said, the Lord, I didn't want to let me go anywhere in the world, not kill that man, he's but he done 35 and they'd done damn pay me. And I done walked in with it, without a doubt. Gamescom.

[00:20:50]

And he thought I stole this bail, but I have to and he said, son, he's a legal Maham, you think I'm thinking about that when I go to bed? I can't clean myself good. And when I get up in the morning, half a food going out for half gold, he looks down and Stone had done teared up and I had to and I seen it the tears. He had a tear. He said, Son, always remember I'm a rat.

[00:21:22]

You will reap what you sow on this earth. Don't forget this. You do that for me. I start to pop up.

[00:21:33]

During one particular visit, Billy's health took a noticeable turn for the worse.

[00:21:39]

We immediately knew something was wrong because he was locked up in a good mood. He barely knew him. I looked real weak, he said. I think I've messed up on my medicine, the partisan stuff. And then they take away. And he told me when I come back, he called me on Monday, Monday. He didn't call. I was worried that on Tuesday night he called. He said, hey, some good news not to come by and said it was at Merson.

[00:22:12]

So I'm glad I said good day.

[00:22:15]

We'll see you, sir. He's. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

[00:22:17]

All geared. So we have a good time. He lives alone. Taison I think probably this lately. I will tell you what a good son you've been.

[00:22:28]

He's the son I know this might sound Bapu's. He could say blasphemous laugh a ain't always put hesi you've been a good son to me is Jesus what the God. And I started crying. I said Daddy. Now why do I know that. I said Daddy get nothing but getting back you the best anymore. He said, I hope you listen to this. Listen to me now I want to know what you meant to time even when you didn't know it.

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I've been so proud of it. Easy, you don't know. But you've got a son now. You watch everything he does. He won't know you watching him. But you know him. He's I'm so proud of the man you are. And he raised that boy up. He better both of us. Well, I was uncontrollable crying by the time he said that.

[00:23:18]

Calm down in the crowd. Billy then spoke on the phone with Stoney's wife and son, telling them how much they meant to him.

[00:23:27]

So when he hung up, I'm not going to lie to you in my heart of hearts, I knew he was getting ready to do something, but I thought he's up right in front of nurses. He said, come back, say to early, but it did add up. So I stopped.

[00:23:42]

Should I should I call down there and tell them to watch him? I thought about it and I said myself, No, he's not. He's in his right mind. So I went to bed and I prayed, hoped and prayed that not God, not me. What to think. The next day, Mainstone brought Kanae doing a water treatment plant, I will perform the job stones running a big rock crusher about 10 30. I got a phone call in my throat, rather, the man said, Is this millstone, Walbert?

[00:24:20]

And I said, Yes, sir. He said, this is warden, where state prison and I meet, there's a God, please don't tell my father they did, he said. I'm afraid he is done and I just lost it. Best I could do the uncontrollable emotion, I said, can you tell my height? And he said, I'm afraid I can't do that with the corner. I give you her number.

[00:24:53]

So I call. And I asked her, ma'am, can you tell me how my father passed? She said, I'm afraid I'm in the middle of times and I can't do that. And she can feel the pain in me because I was on patrol. We said, listen, ma'am, I said he had a book he sent home about a week ago and a page afterwards. I said. It was a page of his rival, John, whose last words were Letterio Stoney's, referring to Billy's great uncle John, who was publicly hanged for murder nearly 100 years ago.

[00:25:30]

His final words were a letter rip. I said, is it possible this was last words? She stayed quiet for a minute. She said, I never said this, but yes, I missed Birte letter. It was probably the last words. I thank you. Not just. So it took me out.

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Some way, some way there for them nurses, him not a move, on one hand, barely on a hospital bed.

[00:26:15]

He got hold of a sheet. They put himself up just enough teenagers to get the sheet right in there without them noticing it, fix it where he just leaned back and it slowly put to sleep. And that's how he done it.

[00:26:32]

On April 7th, 2017, just over three months before his 80th birthday, Billy Sunday, Bird took his own life in prison. He went out as he lived on his own terms.

[00:26:49]

He he didn't want to be a burden on those nurses any more than he did Mayor Stone. So he'd done what he'd done with his eyes wide open. And I know it was pretty don't go to hell, and I hope and serious heart see that he wouldn't try to escape any punishment he was getting because he dumped the press.

[00:27:14]

That's all I can tell you. It's all over.

[00:27:16]

The stony, it seems, could not process the fact that his father was gone. There would be no more phone calls, no more visits, no more stories or fatherly advice. He would not get to watch the grandchildren he so loved grow up. Stoney visited the mortuary where Billy was being prepared for his funeral and was dismayed at how the mortician had made his father look. So he took over. I will say, you know what?

[00:27:44]

I'm not going to let you go lucky like this. And I cleaned him up and I could have groomed him and put that back in his hair and put his patch back on him and put his father's ring on him in his favorite belt buckle when he was and everything, a picture of all his friends and when I was done. He looked real good. But I had to talk to him the whole time so that my mind could and I pretend that he would listen a little stones to the right there with me and with my sister.

[00:28:22]

We spent two weeks Mainstone digging his grave behind Indurain with a tent. I know we look crazy to people, but I think it was I think you, I don't know, therapy. We watched the movie where Jesse James brother, James Turner, said the only condition he could bury his brother. So last on the grave.

[00:28:47]

I don't know that I've ever witnessed such an unconditional love between a father and son. In a way, it was a very romantic end. And after knowing Stoney all this time, I couldn't imagine Billy Byrd's story ending any other way and being buried by his son. Not long after Billy Byrd's death, Stoney and his son Stone began to build the rock solid distillery in a way to honor Billy Burt, but as Tony explains, it was also a coping mechanism.

[00:29:19]

I guess if I had to say how long it takes to heal long enough to meet people again, it was two months at least. My wife, God bless her, she she was so wonderful, the only way she knew how to fit in my son. So we got to thank you and me and him about what we could do to keep a family together. And I wanted something to get into. I could bring my whole family together and not have to be apart because, you know, I just have turned 60 and he's gone and all of a sudden I'm in thoughts mortality.

[00:29:59]

And so I knew that if I didn't do something to bring it all together for that, I'd leave it on stone shoulders. And I have so much more in me to work with the stone and glass experiences.

[00:30:12]

So I set my mind on the mystery. Why? Because we made the best whiskey there ever was. Bar none.

[00:30:21]

Stoney found in nearly dilapidated building in winter when his father actually robbed several times over the years when it housed a garment manufacturing company.

[00:30:31]

He made the owner an offer, he would rent the building from him for a low fee and restore it at his own cost, if the distillery failed, then the owner would still have a viable building.

[00:30:44]

We started to clean this place out. It was it was calm. It was full of nothing but clothes.

[00:30:51]

It was like something that won't be bulldozed within a month. But I've seen how structural it was. Everything's concrete wall.

[00:31:00]

They don't deteriorate.

[00:31:01]

The roof is in good shape. I knew I could lose my ability to learn from my grandfather. Of all the houses we built, I knew what I could do with it and I wanted my son to have that experience with me. And now he can do it.

[00:31:17]

That was the beginning. You come along when it's still a the hill and it did look like hell, there were boxes of junk everywhere and cardboard covered the windows. There were bare wires hanging out of the ceiling.

[00:31:32]

But now the building has been fully transformed into a beautiful structure, complete with old barn wood slats on the walls and memorabilia of his father embellished throughout. It's really something to see. And Stoney and his son did it all on their own.

[00:31:50]

It's been all about it. We have no investors.

[00:31:54]

Stoney explains how building the distillery was a cathartic experience for him and his son, helping them cope with their loss.

[00:32:02]

That was completely connected, this solitary war of mayhem working daily. And so we have walked in here until we have just fell out in the floor on the curtaining, you know, exhaustion because you don't bet the farm is slow down, just the same as just burying him by hand and putting us together on our own. It wasn't a tribute to him, but in a way it was. It was a tribute to him. Hopefully he can see that I don't have the same relationship with him that's going to carry on.

[00:32:37]

That closeness of father and son were mutual respect.

[00:32:44]

It's been nearly 50 years since the Dixie Mafia ran wild in the rural towns of Georgia. All the murders, the bank robberies, the loyalty and betrayal.

[00:32:56]

Some of the old timers I spoke to during this podcast still wouldn't say a bad thing about Billy or about the Dixie Mafia for fear of repercussions or because they liked him. But many in the area heard these tales for the first time in years, or maybe for the first time ever of Ruth and Harold Chancey of Junebug, Stinchcomb and Bougere of Jim West and Early and of Billy Wayne Davis and Billy Sunday. Bert. We've heard from many of these families and it's clear that much of the younger generation knew nothing of what really happened.

[00:33:35]

And that their own kin might have been involved. Fast forward to today in the town of Weiner's changed its grown up.

[00:33:43]

New houses have popped up on the edge of town and more families have moved in now. Sheriff's department wants barely staffed to handle all the crime, now has its own modern headquarters. And while so much has changed, so much hasn't changed, the water tower still overlooks the town square and you can hear the train barreled down the tracks right by Stoney's distillery. The wall that Billy famously climbed is there to just a few minutes outside of Wigner.

[00:34:16]

The Mulberry River hasn't stopped running the sooty mixture of red clay and sand. But there's still remain too many exits, too many unsolved mysteries pepper the banks of the Mulberry River, the spots where countless victims were killed by the Dixie Mafia, buried deep in the red clay, never to be found. But also never to be forgotten. Between the years of 1967 and 1972, over 300 commercial airplanes were hijacked worldwide, this period would become known as the golden age of hijacking.

[00:35:00]

The new podcast, American Skyjacker is the tale of a small time crook named Martin Mack McNally, who dreamed of the ultimate mile high score. But Mac's hijacking is just the beginning of an incredibly while true crime saga. Listen and subscribe to American Skyjacker on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Buried cash, DEA moles, skydiving planes, a group of college friends took advantage of Colorado's marijuana laws to traffic thousands of pounds of pot out of state for sale on the black market.

[00:35:41]

One of the longest, most lucrative smuggling runs in U.S. history. Listen and subscribe to the syndicate right now on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

[00:36:01]

On a cool October morning, Stoney and I visited his father's grave together, a picture of Billy and his beloved Mercury Cyclone adorns the large granite headstone and a huge bouquet of colorful fake flowers rests on top. Stony has landscaping lights that point at the grave so that it's illuminated at night. We have a drink of whiskey and toast his father's memory and Stoney introduces him to me.

[00:36:28]

OK, well, we won't be here. I always do a toast to him for doing thing and I'll stop now for a closer to make a toast. Well, here I say, here's the closure. There's the closure. All right, but I believe you might know what's going on here, but I done what you told me eight days and it's over now.

[00:36:58]

They may hear women. Her name is shown. Keep your. We talked for hours at the foot of Billy's grave stone, he told me stories and memories, and before we left, he spoke again to his father.

[00:37:13]

I love you, Daddy.

[00:37:14]

I know that's all I ever say to a levee, which going be. I swear to you, I feel like he's around my grandmother. I know it's superstition. People think I'm crazy, but this is called a beautiful thought. Sometimes I come here when I'm all wound up about something and I talk to him. Now, he don't talk. But what I do here is a conversation we had all through those years. What he would say and you know, as I walk away with a lot of times that makes good decisions for me and it helps me if it washes my soul.

[00:38:06]

This story started out for me is simply the unbelievable retelling of a hit man's incredible life story and the horrendous crimes he committed, and it certainly was that. But as I found out, it was so much more than that to me. It was also a tale of pain, loss and shame, of longing and regret, of salvation and forgiveness, I found that it was more about a man trying to come to grips with who his father really was, not just who he remembered him to be and how his father's actions truly affected people.

[00:38:46]

It's a cold, hard fact that the families of Byrd's crimes still struggle at times to cope with their losses. Some have never gotten over it. That's been a hard pill for Stoney to swallow. For him, coming to grips with all of this hasn't been easy because really he lost someone, too.

[00:39:05]

He's lived the majority of his life bearing the weight of his father's actions, being pigeonholed into just simply being a Bert, the real stoney, never truly being allowed to shine through.

[00:39:19]

I can't imagine for a minute what his life has been like growing up the way he did. How do you ever escape that he spent the past 50 years being looked down on by many just for who his father was guilty by association?

[00:39:35]

And I can honestly say that after spending so much time with him over the past year and a half, I like Stoney.

[00:39:43]

I consider him a friend. He's a good man. Bit eccentric. Yeah, but he's a good man nonetheless. He's kind of funny giving. He does whatever it takes to provide for his family and make them feel loved and cared for.

[00:40:00]

And it takes a real set of balls to stick it out your whole life in the same small town that looks down on you, if only because of your name. There's not one action that he's ever done in my eyes or in my presence or to my knowledge, that takes away from him as a father, as a human being, or as the most compassionate, most ethical man I know. I know that sounds retarded, that that sounds retarded for me to say it.

[00:40:30]

But I promise you this. I tell you this without of that, if you come to wonder and 1973 belabour if somehow ended up with him and his party that wherever it was and furthermore in the hanging with him, you feel the same way. You had to ask, how can you say that? It's because you would never see the side of him that come to get you in the middle than that to key or to learn you listen.

[00:41:04]

Even jobs he took from people that he had second thoughts on and a couple of them, he would back up and say, I've changed my mind, I will do this. Even those he had to rationalize in his mind that it was of war.

[00:41:25]

As we sit here right now, I'm a 60 year old. If I could change anything about the way I feel about him, if I could look at anything different to change my view of him, for the sake of my kids, my grandkids, I can look you square in on a. I can't think of one thing, not one thing. That'll never be understood by anybody then it be still a history in the best understood by any movie that's ever made, any documentary that's ever made, that can only be understood by me and him.

[00:42:07]

The other people that could elaborate on it and tell you why I feel this way are all dead and gone. But I promise you this, and I'm not mentally retarded, I do have scruples, I do have compassion, my eyes are wide open when it comes to my father. I'm not ashamed of it. I'm not. I've got here on my left for that. Do you feel sorry for what he's done? I feel sorry for his whole life, one of my fantasies since I've been a kid, it's somehow magically go back in time and that thing 60 and tell him that this was going to happen.

[00:42:55]

And I've even dreamed it before and woke up and when I was younger and cried because it was so. But how long can you be sorry about the same thing and how many times you say, yes, I'm sorry and tell you the truth, before I had my son and my grandkids and give my life for another me. So now I wouldn't call me selfish. I just tell you the truth. But before the handover depend on me, I would give my life for all that be a waste of his life.

[00:43:30]

But Sony can't erase the horrible things from his father's book of life, he must continue to live with them. And that's his cross to bear, as it has been for nearly 50 years. For better or worse, he is his father son. For them, the saving grace is from my family, as I have been vocal about it, nor do ever intend to be.

[00:44:07]

But this is an interview and I'm talking from the heart and you're asking me about my father, so this is my one shot to say how I truly feel because it's not won't come out of me again.

[00:44:24]

Have you heard of this? I don't think I can say that, you know, just what kind of a person was in my eyes.

[00:44:36]

I'll tell you this, for four to three years, he never wavered in his principles, in his compassion and his love for his family and his convictions until his last breath on this Earth, everything he ever done was as deliberate and as thought out. Is it possible it could be by any human being and the only things he ever regretted?

[00:45:11]

Was a decision he made while old Blackpool's, the jobs he took in Kingpin's, he regretted taking out people who had not done him personally wrong.

[00:45:27]

The people who left the Mathew's, who caused it to be him or them which killed them. Those kind of things he regretted. But I think Billy Burt regretted far more than that, Stoney. I think he regretted ever making the decision to kill anyone. I think he regretted not being able to watch his children and grandchildren grow up. I think he regretted not being able to gracefully grow old and experience the things in life that only a loving grandparent can really understand, seeing that circle of life completed.

[00:46:10]

I think you regretted missing the school plays the Christmas mornings, the Sunday afternoons at the river and being a strong shoulder to lean on when times were hard for his family.

[00:46:21]

Yes, I think he regretted these things to Stony Billy Sunday. Burt was a whiskey man. He was a bank robber. He was a hit man. He was a murderer. He was the leader of Georgia's Dixie Mafia. He was also Stoney's father. I sat in front of my computer for hours trying to find the perfect words to end this man's incredible story. I decided to clear my head and take a drive as I came to a stop at a red light young woman standing on the side of the road walk towards my window.

[00:47:03]

I reached for the change in my cup holder, but she handed me a small square pink piece of paper, smiled softly at me and walked away. On the paper was simply written for the son of man come to seek and save that which was lost. Luke, 1910.

[00:47:25]

And maybe that's all that Diliberto really was lost, don't ever get in your head that anything about this life, his mind was anything other than tragic, though, in your head that is romantic to be any kind of a lawbreaker.

[00:47:46]

Always so easy for young, dumb people like myself to do that. But crossroads you come to in life, you tend to not see them mother there.

[00:47:55]

So you take a turn when you should, but certain times when you take a wrong turn and no place to turn around. And there you are. That's what I wish people would give from this. The tragedy of it. He could have been a NASCAR driver or a law man and he could have been great in it. But he took too many damn wrong turns to there was no place to turn around. And then he just hit thirty two wide open spaces.

[00:48:22]

We show up, that's about it. But Stoney made the right turn in building his distillery.

[00:48:30]

It's open now and business is booming.

[00:48:34]

You take a hint of peach. Just a hint. Just weeks ago, Stoney found out his father was to be recognized for his wild driving days. He's being inducted into the Whiskey Car Hall of Fame later this month, and given the honor of not only being the fastest whiskey car driver of the NASCAR era, but also having the fastest whiskey car in history, the 1970 mercury cycling. And this is where our story ends. So if you ever find yourself in this little farm town known as Windber.

[00:49:16]

Make sure to stop by the rock solid distillery for some of the best damn whiskey and brandy you've ever had. Stoney is sure to be there. With his big hands and an even bigger smile on his face. Still telling stories that his father. Sun Sundberg is the most dangerous man in Georgia history. A listener note, we will continue to pursue all leads and share any news around the investigation into the open cases we've worked on for the year, along with any new cases that develop as more listeners continue to contact us.

[00:50:29]

Thanks for listening in.

[00:50:31]

The Red Clay is a production of imperative entertainment. It was created, written and reported by me. Shawn Qype and I wrote and created the original music score. Executive producers are Jason Hoak and Jeno. Falsetto story editor is Jason Hoak, produced and engineered by Shane Freeman, Jason Hoak and myself. Cover Art and design by Gina Sullivan. Voice Sessions recorded at three Sound Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. Archival footage licensed courtesy of Brown Media Archives, University of Georgia in WSB TV in Atlanta, Georgia.

[00:51:06]

In the Red Clay is a twelve episode series with new episodes available every Tuesday. Follow us on Instagram at In the Red Clay podcast. Have questions. Email us at Podcast's at Imperative Entertainment Dotcom. If you like the show, tell your friends and leave us a review. Thanks for listening.