Gebhardt is serving life plus 30 years for malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault and concealing the death of another in 2018 following a trial. Moore had faced the same charges, but took a plea deal around the same time, pleading guilty to manslaughter. Moore, 61, was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
An ABC 20/20 crew was embedded in Spalding County, Georgia, and gained access as the case unfolded in the courtroom. Gebhardt was convicted of the murder after a jury trial, and Moore pleaded guilty to manslaughter. “In the Cold, Dark Night” airs Friday, July 17, 2020 at 9/8C on ABC.
Here’s what you need to know:
Bill Moore Sr. Pleaded Guilty to Manslaughter in the Death of Timothy Coggins
William Moore is serving a 20-year sentence in the death of Timothy Coggins at the Johnson State Prison, according to his prison records. Moore was sentenced to 20 years for voluntary manslaughter and 10 years for concealing the death of another.
Here is his prison record:
Moore has an extensive criminal history, including multiple five-year prison stints and a year in prison for escape.
Bill Moore Sr. was facing the same charges as his brother-in-law, Frank Gebhardt, who took his case to a jury trial and was sentenced to life in prison. Moore took a plea deal and was sentenced to 20 years in prison for manslaughter. A jury convicted Gebhardt of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault and concealing the death of another.
Moore would be eligible for parole, according to state law, after serving 80 months of the 20-year sentence. Parole board guidelines recommend he serve at least 65%, or 13 years, Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles spokesman Steve Hayes told CNN.
The board would also consider his criminal history. Moore’s criminal history includes several felony convictions in the 1990s. The board has absolute discretion to determine if and when Moore can be paroled from prison, Hayes said.
The defense argued that Gebhardt and Moore are so old and feeble, they would be no danger to the community and should get bond, but the judge disagreed, according to WSB-TV. CNN reported he appeared in court in a wheelchair.
Timothy Coggins’ Family Agreed to Bill Moore’s Plea Deal Before He Was Sentenced
Prosecutor Ben Coker told CNN that Timothy Coggins’ family had input on whether Bill Moore Sr. would be allowed to take a 30-year plea deal for voluntary manslaughter.
“Thirty years is not a weak plea,” Coker said. “(Moore) wouldn’t take this deal if he didn’t have some involvement.”
The family approved the deal. Timothy’s brother, Tyrone Coggins, told Coker and Prosecutor Marie G. Broder, “You guys are outstanding, man.”
Heather Coggins, Timothy Coggins’ niece, said after the trial they no longer have to tell the story about Coggins’ murder going unresolved for decades.
“We don’t have to tell anyone else this story, that Tim was from a small town where no one cared,” Heather Coggins told 11 Alive, pausing to compose herself after the verdict was read. “Where no one cared and no one was brought to justice for his murder. It wasn’t just a murder. It was a brutal, heinous killing. And now we don’t have to tell our kids or our grandkids anymore that no one cared for your uncle Tim. Now we have someone who’s guilty.”