Investigative Journalism

Hyosub Shin / AJC

On Mar. 11, 1985, Harold and Thelma Swain were shot in the vestibule of a Baptist church in rural southeast Georgia during evening Bible study. Witnesses from the black congregation described a white man with shoulder-length hair who fled the scene.

Despite years of investigation by both the local sheriff’s office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the case had gone cold by the end of the decade; even the leads generated by a 1988 episode of Unsolved Mysteries about the case proved false.

Photo by James Patterson / Book Cover Courtesy of Simon and Schuster

On June 12, 1963, President John Kennedy delivered his report to the American people on civil rights. Hours after his nationally televised speech, NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers was shot in the driveway of his Jackson, Mississippi home. He was pronounced dead an hour later.

Accused killer Byron De La Beckwith was twice tried by all-white juries, which deadlocked. Nearly 30 years later, a reporter for Jackson's Clarion-Ledger newspaper unearthed documents and holes in the defense that led to re-trying and convicting the white supremacist behind Evers' killing.

Over his 19-year career with the Navy SEALs, Special Operations Chief Edward "Eddie" Gallagher earned high honors for valor and leadership as a medic, sniper and explosives expert. But less than a year after Gallagher returned from his eighth deployment – fighting the Islamic State in Mosul, Iraq – he drew a different kind of attention from the Navy: he was charged with war crimes, among them premeditated murder. Gallagher's case goes to trial in May. He and his family have denied all charges.

When New York Times national correspondent Dave Philipps began reporting on Gallagher's case, he thought he might learn that Gallagher had suffered some kind of psychotic break as the result of numerous combat deployments over the course of nearly two decades. But what Philipps has found, through interviews and hundreds of pages of internal military documents, defied expectations. Joining on the line from Colorado Springs, Colorado, Philipps told On Second Thought that Gallagher's case reveals a Navy SEAL culture "split between loyalty and justice." 


Pulitzer Peaches: Bill Dedman

Aug 1, 2016

2016 is the centennial year of the Pulitzer Prize. So we’ll spend some time with past winners who are connected to Georgia in a new series called, “Pulitzer Peaches.” We speak with investigative journalist Bill Dedman in the latest installment.