June 22, 1981 – A Strike Averted, A Murderer Caught, A Plea Changed
June 22, 1981 – A busy news day. Starting with word that the anticipated Air Traffic Controllers Strike had been averted. The Strike, which was planned to start this morning, had been postponed because of all night negotiations finally reached a settlement. Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis and Air Traffic Controllers Union President Robert Poli came out of negotiations saying the government had reached a tentative agreement with the union. The new contract was scheduled to run until June of 1985 and would gave the average Air Traffic Controller a $4,000 increase in pay. Fingers crossed – backs patted – high-fives all around; for now, anyway.
Police in Atlanta finally made an arrest in connection with the Atlanta region’s 28 Black Murders. Exactly one month earlier, rookie policeman staking out a Chattahoochee River Bridge, heard and felt a splash and immediately radioed FBI agents in the vicinity who spotted 23 year-old Wayne Williams in his car near the bridge. 2 1/2 days later, the body of Nathaniel Cater floated to the surface. The day before, Williams was arrested, charged with Cater’s murder. Cater was the 28th victim on Atlanta’s murder list. Like the 28 others, he had been asphyxiated. Although Williams was charged only in the Cater case, authorities said privately they believed Williams to be connected to dozen or more of the Atlanta murders and was in fact the Atlanta Murderer.
And accused murderer of John Lennon, Mark David Chapman reversed his original plea from innocent to guilty. The reason? God told him to. Chapman’s attorney Jonathan Marx told Judge Dennis Edwards that he had advised his client not to change his plea to guilty, but that Chapman had insisted, saying he had received a message from God to do so. Marx told the judge that he didn’t feel Chapman was capable of listening to his advice because he believed he was doing god’s will. Chapman arrived in court wearing a bullet-proof vest, and all members of the press and spectators were subject to thorough searches, ruling out the possibility of lone justice in the courtroom.
And that’s just a small slice of what happened, this June 22, 1981 as reported by the CBS World News Roundup and Hourly News.