Thursday, July 16, 2015

Lingering in a Small Town

Three words. Write.

Boring,  Dark,  Lonely 


“Please set the recorder, it is to play at 8:00PM.” 

“What is it about?”

“Eight horrific murders that happened about 30 minutes from here.” *

“What? ? When?”

“The Alday murders, it happened in the 70’s and they are telling the story tonight on the ID channel.”

This conversation sent me on an internet search.  The murders happened in 1973 and there was nothing boring about the facts. LINK   

The Aldays were shot to death as they returned home for lunch. Ned Alday was gunned down along with 3 sons, a brother and a daughter-in-law, who was raped and then taken to a field where she was shot in the head. Prosecutors called the slayings the most gruesome in the state's history.”- Fight the Death Penalty

Three men, I will not state their names, because deep inside I do not want to contribute to their notoriety.  The Alday family and all the residents of Donalsonville, GA that lived all these years under the dark shadow of this tragedy; their lives mattered.  In the deep South people have always had roots that ran deep.  Not a single family in the farming area was not touched by these murders, something as innocent as coming home from the field to have lunch, was forever changed.  Fear shook the community and spread. The murders caused people to keep their relatives close and a city that once never worried over if their doors were locked, began to lock them.  Before the murderers were captured by the law, many people wanted to send out their own search party and take the “eye for an eye,” to seek justice. I am certain I would have felt the same way.

 “Over the years surviving, members of the Alday family have expressed bitterness over the length of time it has taken to get Isaacs into the Georgia death house. In a letter to the editor of a local newspaper in 1998, Faye Alday Barber, the daughter of Ned Alday, said there was something wrong with a legal system. She wrote that her family had become the victims of "legal plunder" and a justice system that acted like a "predator. For 25 years my family has pursued justice," Barber wrote. "The only thing that stood between the Alday family and justice was the law, and it was the law, not Carl Isaacs that became our ultimate predator. Our courts and legislators are nothing but vandals at the gates of justice. It took them a quarter of a century, but they beat us; they won. Like Pontius Pilate, they simply washed their hands of innocent blood. We lost our family, our farms, and our heritage. We lost hope... but liberty was not lost; it was stolen." She said the family dog, Tub, saw the bodies removed from the crime scene and never got over it. "He went out into the field and laid down, refused to eat or sleep, wouldn't let anyone touch him, and over a period of time his hair fell out, exposing rib bones that protruded through his skin," Barber wrote. "He was a pitiful sight. He became so thin that when it rained, he could have crawled under a honeysuckle vine to keep from getting wet. A veterinarian said (Tub) grieved himself to death. That dog had more compassion for my family than our courts."

These events happened years ago, but for anyone that lives in Donalsonville, GA, it is still a topic that is very much alive. There was even a movie made about it, "Murder One," but it is hard to find, I haven't seen it.  The reviews said the actors portrayed the family as  simpletons and it outraged the family and the locals.  It also stirred up all the memories that causes so much pain in the area.  It was not well recieved. Three or four books were written about the incident, and they too, are hard to find,  they are out of print and collector's items.   

Regretfully, this incident is not a lonely case; tragedy of murder happened even in my hometown in 1997. Mr. & Mrs. King were murdered in their home, on Red Acre Farm, by a young 17 yr. old boy who came to their door inquiring about someone that did not live there. The tragedy is a force that still haunts the house.  Over the years there have been several owners of the property, but none have lasted.  I cannot drive past the house without my memory recalling the events that happened there, even though I was not directly related to the incident.  I know the people of Donalsonville are overcome with the same type of emotion if they watched the incident replay last night. 

It is with great respect for the Alday family that I write this and they are not forgotten.

*Six members of the Alday family and two others in route. 



  1. Thanks for sharing this story, DP. I'd not heard of it, though I'm an avid watcher of the ID channel, Forensic Files, and such.

    The poor dog got me.

    I've always wondered how people live in houses where such acts were committed.