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Investigator unearths decades-old crimes

LAGRANGE, GA (AP) -- Clay Bryant digs up old mysteries and tries to crack them. In the last year, the investigations of "Cold Case Clay" have led to arrests in cases from 1970, 1987 and 1990.

LAGRANGE, GA (AP) -- Clay Bryant digs up old mysteries and tries to crack them. In the last year, the investigations of "Cold Case Clay" have led to arrests in cases from 1970, 1987 and 1990. "How many chances would a man get to right wrongs that occurred 33 years ago or 17 years ago or 14 years ago?" he said. Bryant, now a district attorney's investigator in the Coweta Judicial Circuit, connects his search for justice back to 1970, when he saw the body of Gwendolyn Moore being lifted from a well by a tow truck. "She was spinning around in a circle. It was the most macabre thing you ever saw," said Bryant, who was 15 years old at the time and tagging along with his father, the Hogansville police chief. Moore, a 30-year-old mother of four, had been savagely beaten and dumped in the well. No one was arrested until Bryant got on the case a couple of years ago. Moore's grandniece contacted the sheriff's department to see what had ever become of the case, and that's how she reached Bryant. She had found a death certificate that indicated a bottle was broken over Moore's head in July 1970, and she was punched in the face repeatedly a week later, the day she died. Moore's husband, Marshall Moore, was arrested. Moore, 67, who has throat cancer and is out on bond, denies killing his wife. "My daddy often said she never had justice in this case," Bryant said. "It was like my father handed me this case and said, 'This ain't right, fix it."' Marshall Moore's lawyer is asking the Georgia Supreme Court to throw out the case, claiming it violates his client's right to a speedy trial. "They made a decision not to prosecute. Now anything or anyone supporting that decision is gone," said attorney William Stemberger. After Moore's arrest, Bryant took on the case of Fred Wilkerson, who disappeared in November 1987. Two months later, authorities found Wilkerson's bones buried 18-feet deep on the property of his former girlfriend. Connie King Quedens, 59, was arrested and faces trial in August. She denies the charges. Bryant's work also led to charges against four men accused of assaulting a man at a pub in 1990 and then driving him to the top of Pine Mountain and throwing him from the vehicle. Allen Moore, Marshall and Gwendolyn Moore's oldest son, called Bryant a "bloodhound" as he steadily builds a case. "He has a taste of the bone," Allen Moore said. Bryant said he may solve more unsolved crimes. He's working on two more cold cases.

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