Programs to look back at 'Murder in Coweta County'

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At left in this image shared for The Newnan Times-Herald’s “Coweta County Remembered” feature is local author Margaret Anne Barnes, whose book was made into a TV movie starring Johnny Cash, right, as Sheriff Lamar Potts, and Andy Griffith as Meriwether landowner John Wallace. The town of Zebulon stood in for Newnan in the television production.

Two nights of planned activities will take place July 10-11 as the city of Newnan and Coweta County partner to remember the story of “Murder in Coweta County,” which aired on CBS television network 31 years ago.

According to Coweta County events services coordinator Tray Baggarly, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the historic 1904 Courthouse in downtown Newnan, one of the movie’s producers, Dick Atkins, will give a presentation and talk about what went into turning local author Margaret Anne Barnes’ book into a made-for-TV movie starring Andy Griffith and Johnny Cash. Barnes at one time was a reporter for The Newnan Times-Herald.

In addition, several local residents will display memorabilia they have that is associated with the movie, and some who were extras in the production will talk about their experiences. The town of Zebulon stood in for Newnan in the television production.

The next evening, Thursday, at 7 p.m. at the Newnan Carnegie Library on the Court Square, Atkins will talk about the production of the movie, followed by a screening of the made-for-television production.

“Murder in Coweta County” is the true story of a brutal murder that took place in 1948 and pitted John Wallace of Meriwether County against Coweta County Sheriff Lamar Potts. The trial was the first in Georgia in which a white man was convicted on the testimony of black witnesses. 

The trial was held in the second floor courtroom at the Coweta County courthouse, and the guilty verdict was read there on June 18, 1948 – 65 years ago.

Light refreshments will follow both of the programs and there is no charge to attend. 

For more information, contact the Coweta County Convention & Visitors Bureau at 770-254-2627 or the Carnegie Library at 770-683-1347.




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