Attorneys for condemned Stocking Strangler Carlton Gary will be allowed to subpoena evidence from a 1977 rape that investigators believe was a precursor of the seven serial killings to come, a judge ruled Monday.
Superior Court Judge Frank Jordan Jr. said that does not mean any evidence from the Sept. 11, 1977, rape and aggravated assault of 64-year-old Gertrude Miller will be submitted for DNA testing to see if it matches Gary, whom Miller identified as her attacker during his 1986 trial.
Wrote Jordan: “The court grants defendant’s request for subpoena but reserves the decision as to whether or not any biological tests resulting from the subpoena shall be submitted for DNA testing subsequent to a hearing. The court orders defendant to submit a subpoena for any records and possible biological evidence in possession of St. Francis Hospital or Dr. Andy Wasden relating to the victim Gertrude Miller.”
St. Francis Hospital is where Miller was treated for her injuries, and Wasden there was directed to examine Miller and collect any semen samples.
Attorneys have been arguing over DNA-testing more evidence from a series of rapes and stranglings in 1977 and ’78 thought to be the work of a single perpetrator.
Prosecutors claimed Gary committed the violent assault on Miller, who was bludgeoned with a board before she was brutally raped in her 2703 Hood St. home. Miller has died since Gary’s 1986 trial, which preceded the use of DNA testing in U.S. courts.
Convicted in three of the seven so-called “Stocking Stranglings,” Gary was hours away from execution Dec. 16, 2009, when the Georgia Supreme Court stayed his execution and ordered a Muscogee Superior Court to consider DNA testing stranglings evidence.
Tests in 2010 matched Gary to evidence from the Sept. 24, 1977, rape and strangling of Jean Dimenstein, 71, of 3027 21st St., but not to semen collected in the case of Martha Thurmond, 69, who was found beaten, raped and strangled Oct. 25, 1977, in her 2614 Marion St. home.
Gary was convicted of Thurmond’s murder, but not Dimenstein’s.
The other two stranglings for which Gary was convicted were those of Florence Scheible, 89, of 1941 Dimon St., on Oct. 21, 1977; and Kathleen Woodruff, 74, of 1811 Buena Vista Road, on Dec. 28, 1977.
Besides Dimenstein, the stranglings in which Gary was not convicted were of Ferne Jackson, 60, of 2505 17th St., on Sept. 15, 1977; Mildred Borom, 78, of 1612 Forest Ave., on Feb. 12, 1978; and Janet Cofer, 61, of 3783 Steam Mill Road, on April 20, 1978.
Now 60, Gary remains in Georgia’s death-row prison in Jackson.