A Look at the South's Most Unforgettable Crimes

 

Over the decades, the South has been home to some of the most heinous and most bizarre crimes. From politicians and law enforcement officials dishonoring their oaths, to murder mysteries involving prominent Savannah figures, the South provides a picturesque backdrop for these unforgettable crimes.

 

1. Midnight In The Garden

 It was a murder mystery that was captured in the highly acclaimed book, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” and transformed small town Savannah into a must-see destination. 

2. Robbed The Court Blind

Birge, the former Chief Clerk of the Chatham County Probate Court, was accused of stealing more than $750,000 from the Probate Court’s bank accounts.

3. All About The Benjamins

 Savannah attorney Benjamin Eichholz was disbarred after a 77-count indictment alleged he embezzled more than $950,000 from two employee pension benefit plans at the Eichholz Law Firm. ​

4. Debutante's Final Hours

 Hours after attending her cotillion, 19-year-old Jennifer Ross was gunned down during a botched robbery in the early morning hours of Christmas Eve 2005. 

5. Fall Of A Senator

Roscoe Dean Jr. became Georgia’s youngest senator when first elected in 1963 at age 28. He was also the only politician convicted of conspiring to smuggle drugs as part of a scheme to finance a bid for governor. 

6. Homegrown Terrorists

 Four Fort Stewart soldiers turned on the country they were sworn to protect when they joined an American terrorist group. The group was planning various attacks to include setting off explosives in Forsyth Park and assassinating President Barack Obama. 

7. The Charleston Church Massacre

In 2015, a peaceful prayer service at one of the oldest black churches in the United States turned into a bloody crime scene. Twenty-one year-old Dylann Roof walked into the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and began firing his .45-caliber Glock pistol. 

8. Tomato Patch Murder

 Billy Crowder and his family confessed to murdering Martin, Crowder’s grandfather, after enduring years of abuse at the hands of Martin. 

9. Kingpin Dethroned

 Crack-cocaine kingpin Ricky Jivens is dubbed one of Savannah’s most notorious gang leaders. Violence was routine to his cocaine- and crack-peddling gang that began in Savannah in the late 1980s

10. Ain't No Lovett

 After wearing the uniform and serving the City of Savannah for more than four decades, Willie Lovett was eventually stripped of his badge. In 2015, the former Savannah- Chatham Metropolitan Police Chief was sentenced to 90 months in prison for his part in a federal gambling and extortion case. 

11. The Fear Of Heidts

 Springfield, Georgia, isn’t known for its sensational murder mysteries, but that changed in 2008. A deadly love triangle rocked the small community, causing a sharp divide between a prominent real estate family and revealing dark family secrets. 

12. Mail Bomb Murder

 Robert Robinson, known as Robbie, was known for his passion for equality. A Savannah native, he was instrumental in sparking change during the segregation days in the 1960s. He continued his fight for justice through the years, becoming an attorney, a judge pro-tem and eventually the first African American to represent Savannah’s 5th district. In 1989, three years after winning the city alderman position, his term was cut short when he was killed after a mail bomb exploded at his Abercorn Street office. 

John and Elizabeth Calvert

13. Unsolved Mystery

 This year marks nine years since the mysterious disappearance of John and Elizabeth Calvert from Hilton Head Island. Local authorities say the couple believed their accountant, Dennis Gerwing, was embezzling money from their business interests and were going to confront him. The last time they were seen was before a business meeting with Gerwing

How many of those crimes made you chuckle? None? Yeah, that's what we thought. These next few crimes may offer some comedic relief.  

 

14. "Don't Tase Me, Mom!"

A woman used a stun gun on her 28-year-old daughter's face over an argument regarding the cleanliness of their mobile home.   

15. Back For Seconds

Greed got the best of these crooks. A trio of thieves were unable to fit all of their finds into a u-haul, forcing them to return to the house for the rest of their goodies, in said u-haul.  The bandits were arrested shortly after.  

16. Quit Horsin' Around

A woman stole items from a store after riding to the store on a horse…that she had also stolen. 

 

To read the full Southern Crimes and Punishment article, subscribe now or pick up the June/July issue of South Magazine.