This podcast is intended for mature audiences, listener discretion is advised. After Stoney revealed to me that he had found a map some 20 years ago drawn by his father while on death row, we took it upon ourselves to see if there was any validity to it. We all wondered if it was real or some hoax concocted by a playful Billy Burt. When we began digging, we thought we had found something to substantiate the map. There's a chance you our money will the at that.
What is it for the you here? Oh, it's fine. Here it is. Oh, my God. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait a minute. Wait just a minute. So I could be wrong. I thought the hard way. Oh, my God.
We were quickly dismayed to find that her discovery was nothing more than a piece of rusted metal buried about a foot and a half deep, but there was also a large piece of misshapen concrete that looked as if it had been poured to fill in a hole that previously existed.
I think some of the fill in the hole with that. But if you. There no fear that the whole event, although it was all planned by this group, maybe one of the other members of the Dixie Mafia had come back to the spot to retrieve whatever it was that was buried.
Either way, there was nothing there now, but Stoney couldn't let it go.
He just knew his father wouldn't have sent him on a wild goose chase like this. It wasn't his style. So he and his son Stone went back to the same spot a few days later. And I still cannot believe it. But he actually did find something.
The metal detector went crazy on it. It wouldn't, but not a teenager's down, we found it had a piece of black plastic across the top, sort of as the first line of defense.
So we pulled that black plastic off there. It was something wrapped in white plastic. So we excavated Brian. I don't reach it full of it. It was wrapped around around with what clear white plastic and the plastic had then degraded those holes in it and wrapped around.
It was regular hemp twine. When I want to undo the twine, it just fell apart, disintegrated.
What was up out of the plastic?
What was the gun with rust in this almost fused was a pair of black double knit pants, the exact pants that my mother made for him in 1977.
Also to she been looking like Elvis Presley.
She was one of the best singers. Ram unwrapped everything. Oberholtzer It was a 30 inch double barrel shotgun. A shotgun buried by his father. We're just a bit off the mark days before, a mere six feet away from where the gun was found. I wondered what was so important about this shotgun that Burt decided he needed to bury it, was it used in a bank robbery, a murder? Was it the same shotgun he almost killed sheriff early with and was something else buried and retrieved where the cement was filled in?
We may never know, but this discovery gave us renewed hope that if we continued to explore the maps that were made in prison, we might find more.
And that was a bit of a scary thought.
What if we find a body? We decided it was best to involve law enforcement. We met with the Hall County Sheriff's Department crime scene investigator Sheryl McCollum and retired Beru County Sheriff Joe Robinson. I'm Cheryl.
How are you getting Rolling Stone? This is shocking to me.
Here's the story, sir. And that theme.
Seventy four Stony laid out that not only had he found a map containing burial markings of one kind or another, but that he also had a tape recording of his father describing in detail the murder of a woman who has yet to be found or identified. This is a recording that no one we know of outside the Burke family had heard yet. He wanted to pursue this as well. It seemed that Stoney's obsession with tracing his father's footsteps had become about more than just finding treasures on a map, it had become personal.
I found a map and I've got a recording of his voice telling in detail who is on the bird to the linear feet of water, it would tell the detail that she had a beautiful big ring and a big Wojo. What year was this? 1973. 73 is when this happened. According to Berts Tape-recording, the missing woman is that of Billy Wayne Davis's mistress, the one Byrd strangled forum after she claimed Davis had shorted her on money made from robbing and killing two people, four black beauties.
She is supposedly buried on the banks of the Mulberry River, just feet from where Otis Redding was buried and would eventually be found in a shallow grave. What was it on that side of the room? You agree that's better if you know how far could come. And we got to say that it was so weird of the guest of are other rather there's more of the group discussed the best starting point plan of action.
Based on the information we had, one major problem quickly arose. We didn't have an exact location of where Otis Redding was found.
There were no official map markings or aerial photos found in police records. So we watched what little news footage we could find to help provide clues.
Time a family out picnicking by the river here saw an arm sticking out of the ground. Also around the same time, a hiker smelled a really foul odor, but neither said anything about it. They were probably too frightened of the Billy Byrd gang.
With the assistance of investigators from Hall County, we began our search. The landscape has changed dramatically over the past forty seven plus years and was covered in thick brush that we tried in vain to hack away with machetes.
But because of that, I hold on, let me get out of the break, after spending nearly eight hours in the 100 degree heat, chopping through brush thick, thorny briar patches and being stung several times each after hitting a yellowjackets nest, we had made little progress, with the exception of finding part of an old makeshift moonshine still in the.
Well, that's right. Oh, shit. Right now, we got to there, it's something big. I don't know. It doesn't feel like I've been poor will feel way.
We feel that it became clear that this was going to be much harder than any of us had anticipated and we would need to come back again when we were a little more prepared. Another strike out. But it was important testimony to not abandon this quest altogether. Because the details surrounding this particular woman's death would eventually lead to a series of events in his father's life that would break apart a friendship and partnership with dire consequences over 45 years ago.
And this is where our story continues. From Imperative Entertainment, this is in the red clay. The murder case of the Marietta pathologist from May of 1971 had a major break in the summer of 1972 and let's be honest here, we all assume that Billy Burt and the Dixie Mafia was everyone's first choice as to whom carried out the murders. But police now had a woman in custody named Deborah and Kid who claimed she and several others committed the murders. And so begins one of the biggest and most embarrassing trials in the state's history.
Deborah and Kid was in custody for shoplifting charges when she said she had information on the Wawn and Rosina Mathew's murders. She agreed to talk only if she received full immunity, which she did.
She stated that herself, along with seven men and two other women, had committed the crime. She told authorities that one accomplice, James Cremer, had been shot in the back when Ruzena Matthews pulled out a gun and fired several rounds during the attempted robbery, which corroborated evidence at the crime scene. She claimed he had killed Warren Matthews and she herself had killed Ruzena, everyone she named was arrested and questioned. James Cramer had a bullet wound in his back.
This is a judgment that I have made and I am taking this action because now it appears based on some matters which have come to my attention more than ever before, that a prosecution would be warranted. Eventually, after five different trials, the two women kid named were found not guilty and all seven men received life sentences. With the exception of Cremer who got the death penalty, the media had dubbed them the Marietta seven kid. Having immunity was free to go.
I think she needs a little rest. It's been quite an ordeal for all of us. And I want to live a normal life. You know, I want to be happy and get married and let them do what they want to do with this case.
But defense attorneys for the men, along with reporters from local newspaper the Atlanta Constitution, began investigating the case on their own. They were convinced the kid wasn't telling the truth and that there may be corruption in the system. There were even several police officers who were fired when they spoke out saying they didn't believe kids, story that was full of inconsistencies. And none of the evidence at the scene of the crime even implicated any of the people involved in the trials other than kids testimony.
Due to the investigation, we conducted a second investigation. I feel like these are the parties involved.
You still believe they did it, even though you have no physical evidence to support your theory? Yes. But if not the myriad of seven who was guilty of the crime. For some reason, people trust lawyers online, and if you go through bankruptcy or in a situation where you had to pull in your horns, a lawyer, you tell you, I've had them.
Tell me how tell you can, because on paper you should have this. Well, that kind of information is very valuable. One thing that might follow a bit of window was 1968 was he had the ear of at least three or four lawyers.
So information like this, Billie Jean Davis was getting intel from the lawyers on his payroll. And while Bert was in prison for the gun charge, Davis had been busy planning out several jobs, including a string of bank and home robberies.
Burt purchased a 24 hour truck stop just outside Winder as a new front for his business. And as the rest of the world was busy preparing for Christmas just a few days away, Burt and Davis were busy preparing to go to work.
First on the docket was the home of an elderly couple named Fleming.
Mr. President, on behalf of the American people, I would like to ask you to do us the honor of lighting the national community Christmas tree. There we got it. And the flu is the only one that will be home. The other was known not to two or more houses that people didn't live in full time. They were places were a certain SLAC substance was kept. I mean, her best range was small town.
Never had no trouble concerning the Flemming's.
It was a used car salesman, retired, and everybody could look at that and know that was a kind of heat for who would go rob this old man and woman, 70 years old.
Plus, even if you didn't kill them, it bring a lot of heat when there was these other houses that were just ripe for the taking and two of them could be reported. It was a no brainer. According to Stoney, it seemed that Billy had his doubts and wasn't keen on robbing the Flemings from the start, he wondered how much money could they really get from an honest, retired used car salesman anyway?
But he told them, he said, no, we'll take these. But that right there don't they don't add up. I think they don't want to add up. The people spotting them on this line of them daughter is they not daughters. So that will have that much money, number two, right there in town. And it'd be more Heaton's where I won't do these three. Well, they won't do them all. He'd been playing it too long and he had this information below.
You don't know Lorillard yet, 20 percent.
And his very words to me was that that was on do it.
But I'll tell you what I did. The events that transpired next have been debated for the past 45 years, not only by Sony, but by some law enforcement officials as well.
Deep in the conservative south of 1970s Atlanta, Mike Thebus, the son of Greek immigrants, was a man driven by endless ambition. He had everything a wife and five kids, the largest mansion in Atlanta, and a rumored 100 million dollar fortune. But the success came at a price as the community shunned him and he became entangled in a web of murder, mob connections and love affairs.
It is the money, obviously, that attracts organized crime.
I don't have any knowledge as to what happened to Mr. Hammer. He was a personal friend of mine, and I just think it's a terrible tragedy.
There's no doubt in my mind that they are nervous at first about having to do business with Mike Leavis society.
Do not take it seriously when criminals kill each other. So Mike Thebus walked out this door to freedom. Some are speculating he may be in Colombia or Costa Rica, countries which before have harbored United States criminals.
This is Gangster House, the unbelievable story of Mike Thebus family man and the so-called Sultan of smut.
Listen and subscribe to Gangster House right now on Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcasts.
OK, some good news during a challenging time for everybody in this could really help. You may know hundreds of thousands of people have already made the switch to Medicare, which is the affordable alternative to health insurance. And with so many people looking at how they pay for health care right now, seeing premiums going up or the cost of COBRA plans, Medicare has extended their special offer and a lot of people have taken advantage of it. Simply apply by September 30th and they will waive your new member fee.
That's one hundred and seventy dollars savings. And of course, that's just a start. The typical family saves 500 dollars a month after making the switch. Medicare is a Christian community that shares each other's health care costs, and it's worked beautifully for decades.
I'll give you the number here in a second. And if you call, you can get a price within two minutes. Just tell him the promo code share to get your additional savings. Here it is. Call 877 64 Bible. That's 877 64 Bible. 877 64 Bible. I started with the GBI in 1973, a special agent, that's former special agent Robert Ingram.
He spent 30 years in the GBI working on some of the largest cases in the state's history, like the Atlanta child murders.
For one, I've been interviewed more times than I can even imagine about that.
But in December of 1973, 25 year old Ingram was in the middle of his rookie year when he got the call to report to the small east Georgia town of Ren's.
I was assigned as a field agent at times of Georgia and was called on December 20th to serve through to Jefferson County, Rehm's Georgia to assist in a double homicide. Mr. and Mrs. Aurel Fleming. I was just young enough to not know what the hell I was doing, but I learned a lot quickly and had to had to figure it out and did.
The night before, Agent Ingram got the call. Another elderly couple in their 70s were brutally murdered in their home. Evidence showed that they had been tortured and beaten before their deaths. Agent Ingram recalls the grisly scene at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Reid, Oliver Fleming. We were called and responded to both sides of the Fleming residence, Mr. Hugh Fleming, that Assad discovered the bodies after his father did not show up to teach Sunday school that morning. That Sunday morning, a church he went to their residence around 10, 30, 11, discovered their bodies of his parents, their home, but thoroughly ransacked and inside the bedroom.
Mrs. Flatboat was was bound with strips of bedsheets. She was facedown on the bed. She was seized with a coat, had wrapped around her neck. Her husband was lying on the floor adjacent to the bed. He was super size up. He was also bowed with a coat hanger of an electrical cord around his neck to see just as well her face and his face was two to three feet from one another, whether it could be looking and facing one another.
The exterior of the residence, we discovered a small towns that had a dirt floor, small house, big small building used to cure be on the floor of that small house where numerous and mason jars with adding machine types down and all around, which we later determined contained money that had been buried in the house for the investigators immediately started looking for clues, meticulously combing the crime scene to shed light on what took place in the home the night before.
I asked Ingram what the investigation process is upon arriving at a crime scene like this on.
One of the first things, obviously, was to secure our process, to search for evidence, to try to find that kind of evidence that could link a suspect to the crime. You start trying to focus on who your victims are and start a background investigation of the victims, where we started the victimology to try to determine why these people were, in fact, victims. You also look at was possibly targeted or the victim of happenstance. You try to look at all kinds of facts to identify, both of which could lead to suspect.
But there were no official or obvious suspects in the murder, the Flemings were respected, upstanding citizens in the community.
Mr Fleming was a 75 year old semi retired used car salesman and taught Sunday school at his local church. They had no known enemies.
Billy Byrd and Billy Wayne Davis would seem to be the obvious suspects, given the nature of the crime and their reputation with law enforcement and federal agents.
But just like the murder of the Marietta pathologists, they were never even brought in for questioning. And why not?
These were two of the highest profile murder cases in the state's history.
And it would seem that the two highest profile criminals in the state's history would at least be pursued as possible suspects. But with no leads, the case would quickly go cold, additional process lend itself to to build suspect being identified. We are so. What we had that these people are targeted at that robbery was the motive. Usually you define both of the three areas, either sex, greed or revenge. And we were not able to determine that that a body had at a problem won't be for difficulty with the Flobots of these two older five people in the seven days with no apparent Atavist and the jars containing added types about somebody that nobody knows about.
So we from all that entered the dark, should we assume that robbery was the motive, that these people were targeted? So that's how we began our butts to get.
And as it turns out, the Fleming residence wasn't the only one robbed that weekend, just a few miles away to other homes were reported as being burglarized the night before, though, fortunately, those homes were unoccupied at the time of the crime.
One of those homes belonged to a man named Jerry Hayman on the day prior to the floribert, burned a close tie, was chair of his house, had been burglarized. Rich, one of those couple of bottles of water the floor. So we thought the two could be related.
Heyman's home had been ransacked and a safe that he stored a large number of guns and valuable coins in had been broken open and cleaned out. Now, the events you've just heard are indisputable fact. There is enough evidence to show that Barnstone openly admits his father did rob the Hammond house. It's the rest of the story that's debatable. But to fully understand what happened, we have to jump ahead a bit, because while investigators were busy putting pieces together and trying to make sense out of what happened in Ren's Georgia, Byrd and Davis were busy robbing banks across the south in one of those robberies could prove fatal to the very existence of the Dixie Mafia.
There's one family name that is synonymous with American culture, the Kennedys, they became a quintessential symbol of the all-American family of the 21st century. But as they cemented their place in history, the pressure to remain picture perfect became undeniable. And in the end, it proved to be deadly. As a young senator, Ted Kennedy mysteriously drove his car off the road and into a lake. He survived the crash. Those passenger did not. Fearing his presidential bid would be tarnished, Ted waited 10 hours to report the fatal incident.
As the investigation progressed, his story about the events leading up to the crash started to fall apart. And word of the deadly incident spread quickly. Soon, he faced accusations not even the Kennedys could overcome. Subscribe to even the rich on Apple podcast Spotify or listen ad free on the Wonder App.
Since 1993, thousands of women have been murdered or disappeared along the border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
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. The men were about to rob a bank in Alabama when Davis called his wife Mary to check in.
She said maybe there's an emergency here, come home, he said. What is she? I can't tell you on the phone. Just come home now. What is it? I can't tell you on the phone. You've got to come home now. He can get out or is it something bad?
The matter. And because you won't tell me what it is yet where I've got to go home now and it's all right. So we'll put this off because they couldn't do it with just him and the third party. Llewyn Davis was about to walk into a trap. In a word, Murphy's Law, whatever can happen, will there in Alabama by the rival bank for their gold case in the bank for the next morning. Robert at nine o'clock, she goes and Fraser and women do decide to clean out all the old stuff.
They're packaged with money from different banks. She happens to pick the one paying them to write her from a fresh bank, a hit men 30 days, 90 days is a factor when it's OK to use it, because the banks kept the bills already for 90 days. She didn't pay if those hundred dollar bills she have made a deposit.
It was not unusual for Davis to hide money because he and use cards when you're dealing used cars as kind of like a salvage yard. There's a lot that you don't have the good cash deals.
So she thought nothing about criminal activity or she wouldn't get there while cleaning out a freezer.
Mary Davis had unknowingly found bank money taken in a recent robbery wrapped up in butcher's paper as if it was frozen meat. Thinking nothing of it, she deposited some of the money in her bank account within 30 minutes, their bank was at her house. So when they were called the next morning, they were there all night waiting on the call.
She broke down, told her everything she knows, which was nothing. But he's going to call me in the morning at eight. When they did, they were listening to her what to say. That's why she wouldn't elaborate. When you come home, they wait in his car lot at his home where he might possibly could he go straight home? They got him right there.
The serial numbers on the money Davis wife Mary used could be traced directly back to the Loganville branch of the National Bank of Walton County, the one they robbed on March 6th. It didn't take long to put together the fact that daviss wife didn't know anything about this and that Davis himself was guilty of the crime. Billy Wayne Davis was arrested for bank robbery. And while Burt immediately started planning the bus, Davis out of jail, Sheriff Early and Jim West hatched a plan to take down Billy Burt and the rest of the Dixie Mafia as well, though to pull it off, they would have to get creative and a bit devious because to catch a criminal, sometimes you've got to think like one.
Sheriff Early and Jim West came up with a plan that were listening to Mary visit with Davis, and they realized that my father, Mary, was his world. Mary was untouchable. Mary was his. Only part of normal life, she's mother Judy. He worshipped her. That's where they come, this idea, they said, will arrestor make it public on suspicion of conspiracy to make robbery. We'll make sure he sees it and we'll let it go to the final hour.
But then the law was if you had 72 hours to indict you, charge you or let you go. They can't for two days, they made sure that they had a TV A.S.A. being arrested. They took it and put it in the women's ward, giving nobody copy anything. This lady had a boo fun style, her pretty makeup, dark complected, beautiful after a couple of days and there she looked more hill, but give a woman nothing. The way to 12 hours before they had let it go, they come and they said, your wife is about to have a mental breakdown as always over here.
Are you willing to go see her to try to calm her down? He would have had to go see her. You they would head all the way there. They put her in a mock room, small mock room. They handcuffed her to a day and pat those at the wall. They put her on a mattress convolute mattress. Her are staying with mascara. She looked like a damn Dracula. Her hair was a mess. That mop room was between two dormitories for me and they could see the mop room.
And what they said her for the next hour was not what I'll put on this tape. But you can imagine what Low-down sorry comics would say to a pretty woman who they don't know who she is. They just tell them what they're going to do to what they do to try to get the job is her nerves were completely gone by the time they get they lost their.
By the time he found out what they would look at as soon as she's seen him as she to screaming, Billy, please get me out, please get me out. I saw she say she was just shot. He broke on the spot. He said, OK. When Billy Wayne Davis saw his wife Mary handcuffed to a pipe in a janitor's closet, he immediately took the bait, Jim West and early laid out for him. Davis was desperate to get his wife out of jail, and he knew the only way this would happen is if he was willing to make a deal.
He knew that the feds wanted one thing and one thing only. Billy Sunday Burts had served on a platter and he knew that there was one man in particular that would jump at the chance.
Davis knew the Jim West was in charge of everything that involved guns of murder and it all involved guns of murder. He knew that my dad hated him. He knew that he was crooked, by the way, that he framed my father on the gun charge.
But give him a deal in return for you coming clean like Robert and testify. And we will you you are a one parole system, which means we'll let you out within six months of the trial. We were cleared of all charges which had nothing to start with.
Davis was Bert's partner in crime. The two had committed countless bank robberies, home invasions and murders together. And Davis was someone who Burt trusted completely. You trusted him with his life. In the very minute that the pressure was applied to Davis, he folded. He had just rolled over on Billy Burt for the bank robbery. And with all that Davis knew about Bert, this could only spell trouble. That's what broke it that began at. Wednesday, April 3rd, 1974, started out like any other in the Byrd household.
Young Stoney was in school and his mother was busy making breakfast for Billy. He come home, but I guess nine, 10 o'clock at being over two days, you of business, as we always knew it was, and she knows she didn't have any milk. She makes me breakfast because he would come home after two or three days, that he would sleep for a day or two. He would. So she said, honey, before you get undressed, we across the street, the hand, the hand and get me government.
And he said, OK, so he took her station wagon. Our hero was a pair of black pants barefooted as he pulled out the sworn you.
My mother said it looked like she said the worst, it looked like 20 of all had the gun. She heard one guy say, Move, son of a bitch. And you did. When I come home at three o'clock, my mother, all the family was there are no so well, Robert, never to come home again.
Jim West has always had his man. And he was bound to make sure that Billy Sunday, Burt would never step foot outside of prison walls again, and for this, Davis would prove to be his greatest asset. They took no chances. This was, after all, the most dangerous man in Georgia history and little to GMW, no perts arrest couldn't have come at a better time. In fact, his very life depended on it.
He was picked up by the wind. If he had been on a Friday, Jim West would have been headed home with the hope Georgia always does, with a tape on his hood, like always put on it.
Bert's plan was to have a dump truck hog the road driving very slowly in front of Jim West as he headed home on Friday night. West would surely start to pull around and pass the vehicle. Burt and one of his boys who would be hiding in the back of the dump truck would pop up and spray W with bullets from two machine guns. He doesn't get the dump truck. This car would have been hogging the road. He problematic custom he read because he couldn't get around it.
But when he read it to me, I would have stood a out on the back of the truck looking down on him the rifles, and had been the end then.
That's Murphy's Law, that is. Doer's had no idea that that was the plan. Jim Wallace died just as Davis was, because he knew too much and he had too much on the line.
Billy Sunday. Byrd was brought to the Cobb County jail yesterday afternoon. He's now in a maximum security cell on the fourth floor of the prison. We had adequate security, of course, Don, I cared to automobiles and for deputy sheriffs and one state officer. What about weapons? Well, we had adequate weapons. We had a semiautomatic weapon and then a rifle and of course, handguns, shotguns. Do you think Burt was aware of all these precautions that you were taking?
Yes, I'm making aware of them, Burt.
We'll get special treatment while in the Cobb County jail. He may have visitors, but only his relatives. When he goes to the grand jury or to court, he must be accompanied by a federal marshal.
I was not worried. He had been the 50 times before. He was bigger than he began when he was been the bird. He was Elvis. He was easy. It really not be touch. But when Davis turned, all that changed. That's what it became, sir. And I said, damn it, this is so real. I think that was a day that I realized that, you know, my dad was gone. That's the day that sadly him so I went to meet him.
In the red clay is a production of imperative entertainment. It was created, written and reported by me, Sean 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.
In the Red Clay is a 12 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.