ATLANTA — The name Alday is long associated with tragedy in the southwest corner of Georgia, where six members of one farming family were murdered 33 years ago in one of the state’s most gruesome crimes.

The Alday clan in Seminole County is in mourning again after learning that one of its sons was killed by a land mine in Iraq.

Navy Seaman Apprentice Zachary M. Alday, 22, of Donalsonville died Friday when his vehicle struck the mine in Anbar province, the Pentagon said Monday. Alday was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 7th Regimental Combat Team, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Alday was the great-grandson of Ned Alday, who was gunned down along with three sons, a brother and a daughter-in-law after they arrived home for lunch at their trailer on May 14, 1973, said Becky Barber, an aunt of the sailor.

Barber said family members knew it was inevitable that the connection with the crime would be drawn, but “we want this to be about Zach.”

“Zach fought for his country, and he deserves all the honor and the praise,” she said from Donalsonville, where family members gathered to mourn his death.

Barber said Alday was a 2002 graduate of Seminole County High School and had been in the Navy since November 2004. He went to Iraq in February and was due to return in September, she said.

Alday had a 14-month-old child, Karmyn, whose mother is Brooke Connor of Bainbridge, Barber said.

Thirty years after the killings, on May 6, 2003, Carl Isaacs — the nation’s longest-serving death-row inmate — was given a lethal injection at the state prison in Jackson for orchestrating the Alday family killings. Appeals kept Isaacs, 49, on death row longer than anyone else in the nation, but the family never relented in its quest to see justice.

At the time of the murders, Isaacs was on the run from authorities after escaping from a Maryland prison camp in Wicomico County. Two other men are serving life sentences for the murders. A third was released from prison in 1993.

Four members of the Alday family watched the execution, the first time on record that the victims’ family was allowed to observe an execution in Georgia.

React to this story:



Recommended for you