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About this series
This is part of a weekly series on unsolved murders in Hall County. Anyone with information should call Lt. Gerald Couch at the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, Criminal Investigations Division at 770-531-6879.
The Hall County Sheriff’s Office is looking into a decades-old murder that is surrounded by mystery.
More than 30 years ago, Wayne Saxton, 26, was shot in the torso. The bullet came through the wall of his mobile home and killed him almost instantly.
Around 12:30 a.m. on April 1, 1977, Saxton and a female acquaintance were in the bedroom of his Mt. View Road mobile home when someone in a car drove in front of the house, fired a shot and sped away.
“His roommate and neighbors said they heard a car with a loud muffler drive up, and Saxton and the girl could see the headlights through the window just before the shot was fired,” said Lt. Gerald Couch, a Criminal Investigations Division detective reopening the case. “Then they heard the tires squeal back in the direction of the Little Giant on Atlanta Highway.”
Investigators arrived to find Saxton dead on his bedroom floor. They talked to family, friends and neighbors but didn’t identify any suspects.
Earlier in the day, Saxton and the female ate at Burger Chef on Atlanta Highway around noon and returned to the home.
They then went at 7 p.m. to see “Breaker! Breaker!,” a 1977 action film starring Chuck Norris, at the Lake Lanier Drive-in on Thompson Bridge Road and ate at Waffle House on Broad Street at 10 p.m.
“They met with friends and drove around the square, which was popular then,” Couch said.
Then Saxton and the friends traveled to the Gene Tyner Food Store on Atlanta Highway and returned to the mobile home at midnight. Couch couldn’t reveal more information about that night or Saxton’s acquaintances, but investigators listed several possible motives in the case file, he said.
“Simply locating the case file and piecing together the officer’s notes for this case is difficult. With any file system, notes get shuffled, and this one has a lot of photos and the autopsy report,” Couch said. “Some physical evidence has also been maintained all these years.”
Mobile homes still sit in the same area today, but a new one stands in the place of Saxton’s home. The crime scene has changed little, and investigators think that will help.
“We’re hopeful for some information. People who were his friends then are still around the area,” Couch said. “We hope that over the years they may have heard something and can now come forward to talk about it.”