Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Carlton Gary: The Columbus, Georgia Stocking Strangler

Bite Marks

Our experts indicate that Mr. Gary couldn't have left the semen at that crime scene. We're also currently investigating a bite mark left at the [Janet] Cofer crime scene and our expert is looking at that. It wasn't disclosed to the defense that there was such a bite mark impression."

Bite Mark Evidence
Bite Mark Evidence

An article by Richard Hyatt in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported that in May 2006, U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land instructed the warden of the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Center to allow a forensic dentist to make an impression of Carlton Gary's teeth. Martin requested the impression so his client's teeth can be compared to bite marks on the breast of Janet Cofer.

Judge Land
Judge Land

Cofer was one of seven women thought to be victims of the Columbus Stocking Strangler. However, Gary was never legally charged with Cofer's murder, even though the prosecution suggested that all seven were victims of the same man. Hyatt quotes Martin as saying, "He's either the strangler or he's not. If we prove he's not the strangler in any of the cases, that's strong evidence that he's not the strangler."

Martin has also stated, "Mr. Gary is not the least bit troubled by our doing the test because he's confident it will show he's innocent. He's encouraged new testing."

Attorneys for the state contend that the failure of Gary's teeth impression to match the Cofer bite mark would be meaningless. Hyatt quoted a brief, filed by Susan Boleyn of the State's Attorney General's Office, which contends, "Clearly, valid testing cannot be conducted now over 20-30 years after the exemplar was created and 23 years after (Gary) had dental work altering his dental impression."

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