In 1964, when Floyd Hoard was elected-solicitor general (now called district attorney) of Georgia's Piedmont Judicial Circuit, his first challenge was to confront a loose coalition of gangsters known as the Dixie Mafia, who were running rampant in the area. A few days after taking office, Hoard signaled his intention of dismantling the gang by ordering a raid on a car theft operation.
On the morning of August 7, 1967, Hoard was mortally wounded when he turned the ignition key in his car, detonating six to 12 sticks of dynamite connected to the vehicle's electrical system. Shocked and outraged by the tragedy, public officials, led by then Governor Lester Maddox, initiated investigations that led to the arrest, conviction and imprisonment of five perpetrators.
In an essay he had written that was found after his death, Hoard indicated his intent to carry out his sworn duty to eliminate the gangs that had been terrorizing his jurisdiction, declaring, "We want in some way to ease our consciences and to make amends. We have learned our lesson in crime. We pledge activity for inactivity, courage for fear." A eulogist at his funeral said that Hoard "made his decision, had counted the cost and ... he paid the full price."
Hoard was 40 at the time of his death.
Courtesy: The Prosecutors' Memorial, Ernest F. Hollings National Advocacy Center, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina