Charles Wakefield may have been innocent of murder, but he was not 100% innocent of everything.
Love & Hate reveals Arthur Edward Williamson, Jr. for the first time. Known as Fast Eddie, Williamson was likely the most notorious criminal from Upstate South Carolina in the 1970s. For more, read the show notes or listen to the episode above.
FAST EDDIE: IN HIS OWN WORDS
Murder, etc. producer Brad Willis has been corresponding with Arthur Edward Williamson, Jr. since autumn of 2018. Most of their correspondence has been off-the-record, but in the spring of 2019, Williamson agreed to go on-the-record about some specific topics related to his life and the criminal underworld of 1970s Greenville.
Below are some of Fast Eddie Williamson’s recollections, in his own words.
EDDIE AND WOLF MATHIS
Wolf Mathis gave me this nickname when I managed the Hide Away for him on West Washington St. down next to the railroad station. It was then and probably now a “wino location” in Greenville for homeless men and women. That section of Greenville was a troubled area. Lots of fighting. When I managed the Hide Away, I stopped most of it.
However, due to my interest in gambling, fighting, and trying to learn to play pool — at which, I might add, I never got to be a great player — an old wino by the name of Nub Grains, who was at one time one of the best pool hustlers in our county, taught me at the Hide Away daily and helped me clean up in the morning when I opened the bar.
I did know, though, how to make a game so that I would win.
Wolf taught me to use a Whip Cup (a cheating device) for shooting dice. What I learned from Wolf and what I had learned from George Coker at the Hawaiian Eye on Old Easley Hwy 124 in West Greenville about dice and strippers, and working cards so you cut only tens up to aces, led to me winning so much that Wolf started calling me “Fast Eddie.”
Most believe it came from the Bank Robbery days of the 1970s but it actually came from 1967 to 1969. It came alive, though, in the 70s.
THE CHAINLINK FENCE CAPER
Billy certainly caught me in a lie that should never had been caught. I was out on parole on the (Tommy Pearson) manslaughter charge after serving 18 months.
Mr. Catoe owned and operated the Mack Truck and Trailer place on White Horse Rd. and had promised me that I could show I worked for him so my state parole would not be revoked. I did everything I told him I would, but at the first opportunity, he sold me out. People like that live miserable lives — bet on it. He turned out to be a lucky man — and he does not know how lucky. That is water over the dam now.
Max Courson’s Dixie Mafia Gangster
Fast Eddie is mentioned several times in Max Courson’s book. Read Dixie Mafia Gangster on Kindle or visit his website.
Love & Hate introduces listeners to Arthur Edward Williamson, Jr., better known as Fast Eddie, who as a boy had the words LOVE and HATE tattooed on his fingers.
Williamson, a Greenville native, is in prison but has been communicating with Murder, etc. producer Brad Willis for the past six months.
Willis takes listeners back to Fast Eddie’s childhood, and through his life as a criminal, and then explains that Williamson has agreed to reveal things about the Looper murders investigation that no one has ever discussed publicly.
Featured interviews in Love & Hate
Southern Railroad sets out to begin answering two questions. If one-time prosecutor Billy Wilkins knows things other people don’t know that convinced him Charles Wakefield, Jr. is guilty, what does he know? And if Charles Wakefield, Jr. wasn’t in the Looper Garage that day, where was he? For more, read the show notes or listen to the episode above. For more details, see the Charles Wakefield Jr. alibi map below.
Charles Wakefield, Jr. remembers almost every minute from January 31, 1975. He woke up at his estranged wife’s home. He planned to go to sleep there, too. He felt like he was getting close to repairing his relationship. He never got the chance.
Wakefield can recount every hour of his day from the moment he left his wife’s apartment that morning until the time she watched police lead him to jail that night.
After you listen to the episode above, use the interactive map below to trace Wakefield’s path around Greenville that day.
Southern Railroad finds producer Brad Willis driving around Greenville, SC with one-time Death Row inmate Charles Wakefield, Jr. in a pick-up truck. Wakefield reminisces about better times in Greenville as he and Willis navigate through Fall for Greenville festival traffic.
Willis interviews 1975 prosecutor Billy Wilkins in which Wilkins describes Lt. Jim Christopher’s relationship with an informant that first tipped Christopher to Wakefield. Wilkins goes on to tell a story about information Christopher said he heard from one of Wakefield’s neighbors and how it served as good evidence of Wakefield’s guilt. Wilkins then explains why a jury never heard that story.
Wakefield guides Willis through Greenville along the path Wakefield says he took on the day of the murders, laying out his alibi one place at a time.
Featured interviews in Southern Railroad
Unexpected Company begins Murder, etc.’s deep dive into the documents, pictures, and stories that Greenville County has never heard about the Looper murders. It includes an interview with one of the last people to speak to Frank Looper, new details of what Looper’s mother told police, a possible explanation for why some eyewitnesses weren’t called at trial, revelations about the crowded crime scene, and previously unrevealed report that supported the theory that a hit man killed the Loopers. For more, read the show notes or listen to the episode above. For more details not covered in the podcast episode, read KILLER below.
Greenville, South Carolina has earned its ghosts. They’ve come from all haunts. Lawmen have killed other lawmen. Contract killers have rid their criminal syndicates of their rats. Eyewitnesses have disappeared into the ether. Ghost Bridge hunts those ghosts and reveals some startling stories that happened right around the time someone murdered Rufus and Frank Looper.
The warning shots weren’t enough to scare the county’s top drug cop. The next shots scared a community for another four decades. Frank Looper’s family looks back at a compassionate hunter and the warnings he ignored in a fight against organized crime.