Reads Like Fiction, But So Very True
Review by Kim Cantrell
The Alday family had lived on and worked the land in Seminole County, Georgia for five generations.
The huge Alday family would forever be changed when six of its members would die a sudden, brutal death at the hands of four cold-blooded killers.
Wayne Coleman was half-brother to Carl and Billy Isaacs; the boys being three of a brood of 12, abandoned first by their fathers and then a self-centered mother. Their lives were a series of foster homes then reformatory schools and later, at least for Wayne and Carl, prison.
In May 1973, When Wayne and Carl escape from the Poplar Hill prison in Maryland, along with Wayne’s lover and fellow prisoner, George Dungee, they talk their younger brother, a foster home fugitive, Billy, into heading South to Florida with them.
In desperate need of money, they find their way to the homestead of Jerry and Mary Alday. While burglarizing the place, the Alday men return.
Within minutes, two generations of Alday men would die.
Jerry’s wife, Mary, just happened to return to from work during this murderous rampage.
Raped, beaten, adbucted, and raped again, Mary Alday would be shot in the back of the head and left in the Georgia woods.
Clark Howard’s 1983 true crime Brothers In Blood reads like fiction but is, unfortunately, all to true. Most of it, anyway.
As Truman Capote did with In Cold Blood much of the conversations relayed within the story are, undoubtedly, are recreated to make for good reading.
Although, be forewarned, it seems as if Howard did a great deal of his research by interviewing Billy Isaacs. And, of course, as it usually goes when interviewing criminals of this nature, their stories are a bit self-serving (i.e., playing down their role).
Nonetheless, it’s an EXCELLENT work of true crime. Brothers In Blood is a long forgotten book that is a MUST READ for any fan of the true crime genre.
Updates from this book:
For 25 years following the death of her husband and three sons, Ernestine Johnson Alday lived with her grief. She passed away, at the age of 84, on October 24, 1998.
Thirty years after the Alday family murders, Carl Junior Isaacs, aged 49, was executed by lethal injection on May 6, 2003.
In 1988, Wayne Carl Coleman was granted a new trial. As expected, he was once again convicted; however, this time he received a life sentence instead of the death penalty. Coleman is currently serving his sentence at the State Prison in Reidsville, Georgia. His stay is not expected to be much longer, however, as has been diagnosed with AIDS.
George Dungee passed away while incarcerated, at the age of 68, on April 4, 2006.
Paroled in 1994, Billy Carroll Isaacs later died at the age of 51 in May 2009. His obiturary mentions a wife, daughter, and grandchildren in addition to his surviving brothers and sisters.
Carl and Billy’s father, George Isaacs died at the age of 47 on July 22, 1936.
Betty Isaacs relocated to San Diego, California, following the murder of the Alday family. She died in July 1979. She was 64 years old.
More Books On This Case:
- Blood Echoes The Infamous Alday Mass Murder and Its Aftermath (1993) by Thomas H. Cook
- Dead Man Coming (1983) by Charles Postell
True Crime Movies Based On This Case:
- Murder One (2004) starring Henry Thomas, James Wilder