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Biker the biggest lead in 2003 murder
Motorcyclist seen leaving scene
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Hall County Sheriffs Office Lt. Gerald Couch holds one of the original fliers about the murder of Leon Kuniansky that was distributed when the crime occurred in October 2003. - photo by Tom Reed

About this series

This is the second in a weekly series on unsolved murders in Gainesville and Hall County. Anyone with information is asked to call the Hall County Sheriff’s Office at (770) 531-6879 or e-mail.

Finding the “motorcycle man” might be the key to solving Leon Kuniansky’s murder.

More than six years have passed since Kuniansky, a 79-year-old Flowery Branch man, was found stabbed to death inside his home. The biggest lead detectives had was neighbors recalling the coming and goings of a mystery man who rode a loud Harley-Davidson-type motorcycle.

“They’d see the motorcycle sitting outside the house frequently, and they would notice that it would stay there overnight,” Hall County Sheriff’s Lt. Dale Long said. “They only knew him as ‘motorcycle man.’ We never could get a lead on who this motorcycle fellow was.”

Kuniansky’s home, two adjoined log cabins on Lake Lanier, had many visitors. Investigators said he often befriended male transients and long haul truck drivers at parks and rest areas. Some he would hire to do odd jobs around his Pine Circle home, which sat on an unpaved, dead-end road off McEver Road, where neighboring houses were separated by dense woods.

“He would have so many people coming and going from his home, a lot of people just didn’t know each other,” Lt. Gerald Couch said.

Kuniansky’s generosity with strangers may have led to his death.

“He probably got to be known as a guy who had cash money on hand,” Capt. Woodrow Tripp said.

A friend of Kuniansky’s last saw him alive on Monday, Oct. 27, 2003, around 9 a.m. The next day at 5:30 p.m., a neighbor went inside after repeatedly knocking with no response and found Kuniansky’s body. A chair was knocked over, indicating a struggle.

Witnesses told investigators that about an hour before the body was discovered, they saw a rider of a loud motorcycle leave Pine Circle, speeding off southbound on McEver Road.

Kuniansky’s house was ransacked, and investigators later determined a Bose Wave radio was among the items stolen.

The efforts of detectives to solve the murder were numerous but ultimately fruitless. They canvassed the neighborhood, set up a road check on McEver Road to question motorists, and handed out flyers at parks and rest stops. They ran a check at the Hall County tag office to see who owned Harley-Davidson motorcycles in the area.

The white male who drove the motorcycle was never seen close enough by witnesses to create a composite sketch.

“Identifying that person is the issue,” Couch said.

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