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Crime History: Savannah murder inspires Southern Gothic 'Midnight' tale

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Local,Crime,Scott McCabe,Books

On this day, May 2, in 1981, in Savannah, Ga., wealthy antiques dealer Jim Williams shot and killed his lover, redneck hustler Danny Hansford, in the case made famous by the true crime book, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."

The killing took place inside Williams' historic mansion, the Mercer House. Williams claimed self-defense, hired the owner of the University of Georgia bulldog mascot Uga as his defense attorney, and consulted with a voodoo priestess who worked in the graveyard at midnight.

After four murder trials over eight years, Williams was finally acquitted.

John Berendt spun the murder, the Southern city and its collection of characters into the best-selling 1994 book.

Williams died in 1990, in the same room where he'd shot Hansford.

- Scott McCabe

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