Drug bust leads to convicted Petersburg child killer’s arrest

PETERSBURG, Va. (WTVR) — Two teens went missing about a week apart in Petersburg in 1969.

Police said 13-year-old Wayne Starke and 14-year-old Ronald Coleman were murdered one week apart.

Starke’s body was found in a shallow grave while Coleman’s body was discovered in a ravine. Both teens had been sexually molested.

Petersburg Police worked the case and key leaders in the city asked the community to cooperate, but the case went nowhere.

“It was a literal grip of terror for many years,” said Ben Scott, who was 17 at the time of the murders.

However, seven years later there was a break in the case when a former Petersburg man was picked up in New Jersey and convicted of raping several boys in three different counties.

Detectives headed north to sit down with Charles T. Williams, and they know one important detail

“There was no physical evidence trying him to the crime scene,” Bobby Carmichael, a former Petersburg detective, said.

But the detectives were familiar with Williams because he had been a suspect in 1969.

As the police begin questioning Williams

“We left the impression with him, when we left out of there the first time, after we put those pictures of Coleman and Starkes, the boys, the victims, out on the table and he got up and walked out on us. We made him think we had enough to arrest him,” Carmichael said.

After a few hours, Williams confessed. He the served three  years for the rapes in New Jersey and 10 years for both murders in Petersburg.

After getting out, he headed back to New Jersey and was arrested in February for stabbing a man. A few weeks later, he arrested again in a massive undercover drug sting.

Now New Jersey detectives are looking closely at Williams, specifically the time frame when he was out of prison from Petersburg and New Jersey, to see if any cold cases match up to the time frame.

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