Two witnesses testified today that they saw Wayne B. Williams with the two victims he is accused of murdering, Nathaniel Cater, 27, and Jimmy Ray Payne, 21, the day before each disappeared. Williams was seen holding hands with Cater as they exited a movie theater downtown, according to testimony.
Robert Henry, 38, a laborer who knew Cater by his street name, "Silky," testified that he saw Cater holding hands with a man he later identified from newspaper photographs as Williams about 9:30 p.m. last May 21.
This was 5 1/2 hours before police on a stakeout at a Chattahoochee River bridge heard a splash in the water and stopped Williams for questioning after he drove across the bridge. Cater's body washed ashore downstream two days later.
Another witness, A. B. Dean, 80, hard of hearing but professing certainty about his recollection, testified that he saw Payne and Williams standing by Williams' white station wagon off Bankhead Highway near the Chattahoochee on April 22, the day the victim was reported missing by his sister. Payne's body was found in the river five days later.
Both victims were on a police task force list of 28 young blacks slain here over two years. Prosecutors have also been allowed to introduce evidence from 10 other slayings to show a common "pattern or bent of mind." Common fiber evidence has linked Williams to 11 victims, experts have testified. Eyewitnesses have placed him with seven of the slain young blacks.
Henry was one of three witnesses who placed Williams and Cater together. Willams has denied knowing any of the victims.
Henry and Dean took the stand after a black teen-ager, Andrew Hays, told jurors that Williams had offered him $20 to perform an oral sex act.
The testimony from Henry and Hayes was the second time prosecutors have suggested that homosexuality may have figured in the killings. An unidentified teen-ager testified last week that Williams offered him $2 and fondled him sexually. Williams and his attorneys have denied that Williams is a homosexual.
It was perhaps the most damaging testimony yet for Williams, 23, a free-lance TV cameraman and self-styled talent scout whose trial is in its sixth week.
Prosecutors suggested today that Williams hated his own race, hinting for the first time at a common motive for the two murders with which he has been charged and 10 others that have been introduced.
Denise Marlin, an employe of Southern Ambulance Co., where the defendant sometimes took photographs, testified that Williams "used to call his own race 'niggers.' "
The remark came after Judge Clarence Cooper had dismissed the jury upon defense objections. Assistant Fulton County Attorney Jack Mallard argued that witnesses like Marlin would "show that this was Williams' state of mind toward his own race."
Cooper said he would rule Thursday whether prosecutors will be allowed to hear testimony that is expected to indicate that Williams despised poor black street youths who hustled to survive, a background shared by many of the victims.
A young black Williams worked with as a music promoter testified out of hearing of the jury that Williams was all talk. "He was just not on the ball," said Billy Pittman, 22, a song writer. "Wayne Williams was just not what he said he was."