The Murder of Sandra Williams

Despite an arrest, the four-decade wait for justice continues.

Verity Partington
4 min readJun 12, 2021


Murdered teenager Sandra Williams
Sandra Williams, who was murdered in 1980 (Image: Alabama Attorney General’s Office)

When 19-year-old Sandra Williams was found brutally murdered in 1980, her family hoped to see whoever killed her brought swiftly to justice.

However, what followed would be nearly four decades without answers — and a further blow when the man investigators believe killed her was finally tracked down and arrested.

A mysterious murder

Sandra Williams was found dead on the morning of September 11th 1980. Her body had been left on a cul-de-sac in the Mobile neighbourhood of Toulminville, eight miles from her home on Azalea Road.

The cause of death was ruled to be stabbing and investigators found the teenager had also been raped. When police made their way to her apartment building, they found her car still in its parking space and no obvious signs of a disturbance inside the home.

“There was no evidence of struggle in her apartment, but the door was found ajar,” Detective Rusty Hardeman told NBC15.

Although police pursued all the leads at their disposal, they were at a loss as to who had killed Sandra and why. Slowly, her case went cold — and it stayed that way until 2017.

By then, Sandra’s sister Judy Barfield had become frustrated in the long wait for justice and had begun to lobby Mobile’s cold case detectives to reopen the murder enquiry. According to WKRG, this prompted a renewed interest in the killing and the hope that, thanks to improvements in DNA technology, the identity of Sandra’s killer could finally be unveiled.

Detectives went back over the evidence and re-interviewed as many key witnesses as they could track down all those years later. They also re-tested the biological material collected as a result of the rape to see if any matches could be made to potential suspects.

A breakthrough and the cold case heats up

Remarkably, a match came up to a man named Alvin Ray Allen. A secret indictment was made and the Mobile Police Department SWAT team surrounded his home after gaining a warrant for his arrest.



Verity Partington

A writer and author of crime thrillers living in the UK. Partial to books, stationery, papercrafts and walking. You can find her books on Amazon here: https://a