James Arthur Williams was the only person in Georgia to be tried four times for the same crime. He was charged with killing his assistant Danny Lewis Hansford.
Arthur Williams was born on December 11, 1931, in Gordon, Georgia. He was a renown Savanah, Georgia antique dealer, and historic preservationist. In 1955, at a young age of 24, he bought and restored his first three houses located in the East Congress Street. Over the 35 years, he restored almost 50 houses in Georgia and South Carolina, which included Odingsell House, Merault House, Hampton Lillibridge House, Habersham's Pink House, Armstrong House and Mercer House.
In 1969, he bought a house built initially for General Hugh Weedon Mercer, the great-grandfather of the American songwriter Johnny Mercer. Williams renumerated the house in the course of two years. After its restoration, it became his permanent residence from where he began operating his life-long career of antique restoration business.
Arthur was arrested in 1981 for the murder of Danny Hansford, with whom he is believed to have the sexual relationship. After four trials, he was found not guilty at the final trial in 1989. His case was first defended by lawyer Bobby Lee Cook and was convicted and almost got sentenced to life in prison. He appealed posting a bond of $200,000. By the end of the last trial, he was found not guilty by the court in Augusta, Georgia.
James died on January 14, 1990, six months after his final trial. He was 59 at the time and died of pneumonia and heart failure. He was buried next to his mother Blanche Brooks Williams, in Ramah church Cemetery in Gordo, Georgia.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, a book that deals with the Hansford's murder and Williams' subsequent trial for the killing was written by author John Berendt and was published in 1994. It also became the finalist for the 1995 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction.
Talking about the financial aspect of his life, it has been a bit of a mystery. There are no details available about his net worth at the time of his death.