Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Nightrider and Lady Sundown: The Bonnie and Clyde of Georgia

Details

John Hancock was willing to submit to hypnosis as a way to refresh his memory of the events and possibly supply more details than he had yet been able to offer.   Cook says that he was taken to Atlanta to have this done.  Yet all he could recall during the session was a bumper sticker that he had not previously described.  He also rode with Kines around town to see if anything he saw might jog his memory.  He noticed two cars that looked similar to the ones driven by his attackersa brown Dodge and red Grenada.  Of that he was certain.

In the meantime, the bullet removed from his shoulder had been analyzed and could be used in the event that suspects were arrested with a weapon.   Ballistics could make a definitive comparison.      

Cook indicates that at an earlier stage of the investigation, Kines brought Linda Adair and Kenneth Dooley together in the police station after he had compared all the calls from the mysterious female and decided that they were all linked.   Because he was investigating them at the same time that he was running down leads from the Hancock story, he got another break.

Kines wanted to know from Dooley and Adair if something had occurred at the YDC to a girl who might now be carrying out a grudge.   He did not want any more people to be harmed, but Dooley and Adair denied that any sexual abuse had occurred and said that they did not know each other outside a professional relationship at the YDC.  Kines then went over all the files of the girls who had been sent to the YDC due to crimes they had committed and narrowed his list of suspects to five with prior records.  Among them was Judith Ann Neelley, and she fit the descriptions given by some of the witnesses.  In addition, she had been involved with an armed robbery, so she had a gun and knew how to use it.  She was obviously brazen.  Then came another serendipitous turn of events.

Frasier, who based his account in Murder Cases of the Twentieth Century largely on Cooks book, writes that Linda Adair read the description of the Hancock/Chatman incident in the paper and believed she knew who had been responsible for the shooting.  On October 12, she came to the police with her own story, but Cook says the police actually came to her and told her about the incident.   As they described the two children whom Hancock said had accompanied the Nightrider, Linda reacted. 

She knew of a girl who had been at the YDC with kids that age.   She even had pictures and showed them to the police.  The girl was Judith Neelleythe same woman whom Kines had decided was a good suspect.  Her husband was Alvin.  Kines found a police record on the Neelleys and asked that the photos be brought to him as soon as possible.  He placed them in a photo line-up to show to John Hancock.  John hesitantly picked out the Neelleys as his attackers, but said hed want to see them in person to be certain.  It had been night, after all, and in the photo the Nightrider, aka, Alvin Neelley, had a beard.

Alvin & Judith Neelley
Alvin & Judith Neelley
 

As it turned out, this request was not difficult to accomplish, because the two suspects had already been arrested for other crimes.  They were in custody in Tennessee.

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