The case of

Donald Chancey, Lois Fleming, Reid Oliver Fleming

Victim

Donald Chancey, Lois Fleming, Reid Oliver Fleming

Victim Race

Caucasian

Victim Date of Birth

1937

Victim Age
Date Reported
Date of Death

1972-1973

Case Status

Closed

Incident Location

Georgia, USA

Body Location

Georgia, USA

Date of Conviction

1973

Body Discovered Date
Murderer

Who is Billy Sunday Birt?

Billy Birt was a man known to have robbed more banks than John Dillinger, committed more robberies than Jessie James, and to be an informant’s worst nightmare. His 1970 Cyclone Mercury was so fast he was never caught by law enforcement in a police chase.

He was born to a poor family, and during the 60’s was a runner in the North Georgia moonshine operation of Harold Chancey. Donald Chancey, Harold’s cousin, and a man named Billy Wayne Davis were also involved in the moonshine operation, these men alongside others like them formed a loosely knit gang that dealt with illegal liquor and drugs and anything in between. This gang became known as the Dixie Mafia.

Billy Birt had previously shot his own brother and burnt his grandfathers house down, after arguments about who would receive what after his death. Billy Stonewall Birt, Billy Sunday Birt’s son, later expressed his belief that his father’s actions saved his extended family from falling out and breaking apart.

Birt was known to have a family life, according to his son, Billy Stonewall Birt, he never lifted his hands to a woman, animal or child and did not like to fight but if he felt he was done wrong he would not regret doing something about it.

The Dixie Mafia

They were essentially a group of travelling criminals who would perform residential burglary, robbery and theft. The gang did not function under a usual chain of command, but instead was led by whoever had the most money. Regardless of the informal structure, its members were expected to obey one rule: Thou shalt not snitch to the cops.

Unlike other Mafia’s such as the Sicilian mafia, the members were not connected by family, instead they were loosely connected individuals who shared the common goal of making money.

The Dixie Mafia became well known for carrying out contract killings, particularly against former members of their gang. At their peak, between the early 70’s and late 80’s, dozens of people were murdered, usually shot, by it’s members. Although, many of the killings could never be tied officially to the members due to lack of evidence.  They also expanded into car theft, insurance scams and bank robberies.

Murders

In 1972, Donald Chancey, a ‘small-time bootlegger’, went missing in Barrow County. The Barrow County police department would only find the body later in 1979, when Billy Wayne Davis gave the information that led them to find the body in a shallow grave on the banks of Mulberry creek near Winder. Birt had shot and buried him there after suspecting that he had been talking to the feds.

On December 22nd 1973, Billy Birt, Bobby Gene Gaddis and Charles David Reed approached the house belonging to Lois and Reid Oliver Fleming. Mr. Fleming was a retired car dealer who was known to keep large amounts of cash around the house. Subsequently the gang tortured and strangled the couple before making off with $4,000 in pennies, dimes and nickels that had been buried in fruit jars in the Fleming’s smokehouse.

The couple was found with their hands and feet bound, with coat hangers wrapped around their necks. According to Dr Larry Howard of the State Crime Laboratory, the deaths of the two victims were not instantaneous, but instead the result of prolonged episodes of abuse. They eventually died around 10 to 11 pm.

Conviction

The three men involved in the Fleming’s torture and murder were found guilty and while Reed was handed 4 life sentences, Birt and Gaddis were handed the death penalty. Although, he was one of the few people to have their death sentence overturned and converted to life in prison in 1980.

In 1980, Billy Birt was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the shooting murder of his former associate, Donald Chancey.

Billy Sunday Birt died in 2017, while serving a life sentence for the three murders in the 1970’s.

Other Potential Murders

While Billy Birt was only convicted of the 3 previously mentioned murders committed in the 1970’s, according to Douglas County Sheriff Earl Lee, he has probably killed 56 people. Making him the most deadly multiple murderer in the state of Georgia.

On February 3rd 1972, a family of three was found murdered in their home in Boone, North Carolina during a snowstorm. Bryce Durham, 51, his wife Virginia, 44, and their 18 year old son Bobby had all been strangled to death. The Watauga County Sheriff’s office had spent decades trying to solve this case, but were unable to until 2019. While participating in the research for a book, Billy Sunday Birt’s son, Shane Birt, claimed that during a prison visit, his father had admitted to killing three people in the North Carolina mountains during a heavy snowstorm.

Upon hearing this information, the White County Sheriff’s department got in touch with Watauga County Sheriff’s department who subsequently investigated this new lead. This led to them questioning the only surviving suspect Billy Wayne Davis, who implicated Billy Birt, Gaddis and Reed in the killings. Davis only claimed to act as their getaway driver, and the three other men entered the house in what was a hired hit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is in the red clay a true story?

In the red clay is a 12 episode podcast series, detailing the very true story of Billy Sunday Birch, a member of the Dixie Mafia and purportedly Georgia’s most dangerous man.

Who is Stoney Birt?

Stoney Birt is the son of Billy Sunday Birt, a notoriously dangerous criminal from Georgia. Stoney Birt has a son Billy stone Birt, together they run the Rock Solid distillery in honour of Billy Sunday Birt and his days running illegal whiskey.

Who is the deadliest man in Georgia?

Billy Sunday Birt is widely believed to be the deadliest man in Georgia history. He was only convicted of 3 murders but is believed to have killed 56 people.

Subscribe TO OUR WEEKLY
TRUE CRIME

NEWSLETTER