Between the summer of 1979 and the spring of 1981, 29 African American children, adolescents and adults were murdered in Atlanta, Georgia. The killings gained nationwide attention, with many suspecting that they were the work of the Ku Klux Klan or a similar white supremacist group. However, in June 1981, a 23-year-old African American named Wayne Williams (Levels) was arrested for first-degree murder in the deaths of 27-year-old Nathaniel Carter and 29-year-old Jimmy Ray Payne. Eight months later, Williams was convicted of both killings and sentenced to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment. Some parties speculate that Williams was not the real killer, and that local law enforcement officials used him as a scapegoat to bring a seemingly unsolvable case to a close. However, it is generally presumed that Williams was the culprit in most of the murders, if not all of them. No one was ever tried in connection with the other killings.