COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — A copy of his fingerprints arrived at the station on April 30, 1984.
Upon inspection, the prints matched ones found at the Woodruff crime scene.
The next day, officers saw his 1984 Lincoln parked outside Anita Walker’s apartment — another girlfriend of his.
He fled when authorities shined a light through the window. Officers searched the residence to be safe, but he was long gone.
Cartlon Gary was slippery, to say the least.
Shortly after, he checked into Albany Heritage Motel with a woman named Stephanie Warrior and her child.
Warrior returned to Columbus not long after her arrival. Gary stayed behind in room 209.
But when police raided Gary’s reservation, he was nowhere to be found.
Gary checked out of that room and into a Holiday Inn the following day — one of the last decisions he made as a free man.
On May 3, 1984, Anita Walker received a phone call from a woman who promptly put Gary on the phone.
Gary told Walker he’d put cocaine in her fridge, then instructed her to take the drugs to the McDonald’s on Victory Drive where she would give them to Stephanie Warrior.
Walker called the Phenix City Police Department. The department appointed an officer to stick with Walker.
When Walker didn’t show up to the drop-off, Warrior called to say she was coming straight to her place. And on Warrior’s way to the house, she was arrested.
That’s when Gary’s luck officially started to run dry.
Warrior tipped off officers to Gary’s whereabouts, but Gary didn’t know this when he called Walker around noon that day.
He asked her if the cocaine had been swapped. He told Walker to have Warrior meet her at Mother Mary Mission in Phenix City.
Gary also told Walker to let Warrior know he’d call at 4 p.m.
Come a half-hour past four, Gary was in handcuffs alongside a woman named Robin Odom.
SWAT members of the Albany Police Department made the arrest at room 254 of the Holiday Inn.
Columbus police caught word not long after. At around 5:30 p.m. that day, five officers began the drive to Albany.
They arrived at about 7:15 p.m. and laid eyes on their suspected strangler for the first time.
Gary was read his Miranda Rights. He was placed into the back of the patrol vehicle.
Back to Columbus they went.
On the ride there, Gary began to inquire about his charges.
In turn, police inquired about Gary’s crimes, with one of the detectives informing Gary his fingerprints were found at a Muscogee County crimescene.
The back-and-forth continued all the way back to the Chattahoochee Valley, with Gary sharing a few details on the Columbus burglaries.
When they made it to the River City, Gary slowly began to tell a little bit more about what happened in ’77 and ’78.
After being booked, Gary was taken to an interrogation room where he admitted to officers he’d been to some of the burglarized homes, but Gary states someone was accompanying him — Malvin Alamichael Crittendon.
Gary went on to tell officers how he committed the burglaries while Crittendon murdered the elderly women.
The questioning continued until 1:30 a.m. when Gary told investigators it’d be easier to simply show them the houses he broke into.
Gary was placed back into the cruiser. Officers drove to the Wynnton neighborhood.
As they went past a victim’s home, Gary said “that’s the house right there where I saw the old lady in the front yard with her walker.”
He began to detail how him and his partner broke into the home.
Down the road, he pointed out another house where he first saw his supposed accomplice “on top of a woman.” Gary said he stole a bit of cash, then left the residence with Crittendon.
Then they went to the Woodruff home.
Gary told officers how he and Crittendon took a screen off the back window to enter the residence. He said during the break-in, he saw Crittendon toss a woman onto a bed, then begin unbuckling his pants.
According to Gary, he left the house at that point.
The drive continued until about 3:30 in the morning. Officers took Gary back out of the patrol vehicle and into his cell.
A day later, Gary was indicted in the murders.
So began the trial of the Stocking Strangler.
“A look at the Stocking Strangler” comes out every Wednesday on WRBL.com.