The Austin Chronicle

Naked City

By Robert Bryce, September 22, 2000, News

In Deep Waters

The case of the missing atheists continues. David Waters, the unflappable ex-con who allegedly masterminded the kidnapping, robbery, and murder of atheist leader Madalyn Murray O'Hair, her son Jon Garth Murray, and her granddaughter, Robin Murray-O'Hair, will soon be back in Austin. On Tuesday, Waters was indicted on charges of kidnapping, robbery, extortion, and interstate transportation of a weapon. He will be tried by U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, who has overseen most of the proceedings on the O'Hair case so far. Federal authorities also indicted another man who was allegedly part of the conspiracy against the atheists, Gerald Lee Osborn, 49, who faces charges of using a false Social Security number.

The case against Waters, 53, will be based on the same mountain of circumstantial evidence that federal prosecutors used to win a conviction against Gary Paul Karr. On June 2, a jury found Karr guilty of conspiracy to commit extortion, traveling interstate to commit violent acts, money laundering, and interstate transportation of stolen property. Karr, an ex-con, was acquitted on the kidnapping charge and sentenced to life in federal prison. Prosecutors are likely hoping for a similar outcome with Waters, who is now serving time for weapons and parole violations.

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