The story of River Road Counseling and Consulting Services actually begins on May 14, 1973. On that day, six members of the Ned Alday family were slain at their family farm on River Road in Donalsonville, Georgia. Mary Alday was raped repeatedly, shot in the head and her body was disposed of in a large fire ant bed. The Alday murders were the second largest mass murder in Georgia history (the largest being the Woolfolk murders in 1887) and spurred widespread panic, causing gun stores across the state to sell out of firearms. Prosecutors later called the slayings the most gruesome murders in the state's history.
The killers fled the state after the murders and were eventually captured after a manhunt in West Virginia. They had in their possession guns (later identified as the murder weapons) and property belonging to the victims. Carl Isaacs, Wayne Coleman, George Dungee and Billy Isaacs were convicted of the crime after a veritable mountain of evidence was provided by the state. Carl Isaacs, Wayne Coleman, and George Dungee were sentenced to the death penalty while Billy Isaacs was sentenced to 40 years incarceration for turning states evidence against the other three accused. After the trial, Carl Isaacs was interviewed by a filmmaker who was producing a documentary about the case. Isaacs admitted shooting Jerry Alday, Ned Alday, Aubrey Alday and raping Mary Alday and made many inflammatory statements that ridiculed the surviving Alday family members. Part of the enduring notoriety of the case involved Isaac’s callous recalcitrance, with statements such as “The only thing the Aldays ever did that stood out was getting killed by me”.
In 1985, all three of the convicted killers’ trials were overturned when a federal appeals court ruled that “excessive pretrial publicity” tainted the jury and prevented them from getting a fair trial. At the 1988 re trial, Carl Isaac’s admissions following the documentary interview were entered into evidence and he was again sentenced to death; however, a jury deadlocked on giving Coleman the death penalty and he was sentenced to life in prison. Dungee pled guilty but mentally disabled and was also given a life sentence. Carl Isaacs was finally executed by lethal injection on May 6, 2003, 30 years after his original conviction; he never expressed remorse and at the time of the execution, he was the longest serving inmate on death row in any state in the U.S. George Dungee died of a heart attack while incarcerated in 2006. Billy Isaacs served 20 years of a 40 year sentence and was paroled from prison in 1994. He later died in Florida in 2009. Wayne Coleman is currently incarcerated and serving a life sentence. He is eligible for parole but has been denied by the Parole Board every time thus far. In the aftermath of the Alday murders, three books were written and one movie was produced, against the wishes of the surviving Alday family. The Aldays had to sell the farm that had been in their family for over a century because there was no one left to work it; for them it was the final casualty of May 14, 1973.
Paige Barber is the grand daughter of Ned Alday and the niece of Jerry Alday, Jimmy Alday, ‘Sugie’ Alday, Mary Alday and the great niece of Aubrey Alday. She is a spokesperson for the Alday family and successfully lobbied in passing the Alday family bill in 2003, which makes it mandatory for state officials to contact the families of victims in death penalty cases twice a year. Prior to the passing of the bill, it was difficult for crime victims to gain information about any developments in their cases. She has spent a lot of time sharing the Alday story to spread awareness for victims of crimes.
Paige began working in corrections as a probation officer in 1998. Her interest in the legal system has evolved from a desire to punish criminals to a desire to help those involved in the criminal justice system, thereby sparing other families the grief endured by her own. Paige has been facilitating cognitive behavioral programs and working with substance use disorder clients for 25 years. She is an Internationally Certified Addiction Counselor through both the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Certification Board of Georgia and IC&RC as well as a Medication Assisted Treatment Specialist. Paige is a fierce supporter of those in need of addiction services, as well as an outspoken advocate for victim rights and criminal justice reform.
In May 2015, Paige completed the requirements of the Georgia Victim Offender Dialogue, a program which allows victims of violent crimes to have a safe one on one meeting with the individual who committed the crime and ask questions that only the perpetrator can answer. After months of preparation, Paige was able to sit down and discuss the murders of her family with Wayne Coleman. As his story unfolded, she saw many times when he could have received treatment and perhaps the outcome may have been different.
River Road CCS was created to both honor the memory of the Alday family and to help clients whose struggles with substance use disorder could lead to decisions that would negatively impact both them and future crime victims. Paige has stated, “If someone had helped those who killed my family, maybe the Aldays would still be alive today. As my grandmother, Ernestine Alday said, "so many young lives wasted”.
This idea that helping individuals currently involved in the criminal justice system may save future crime victims can be summed up as “The Alday Effect” and is the driving force behind River Road Counseling and Consulting Services, LLC. Paige is passionate about providing quality substance use disorder services to those who would otherwise not be able to afford it. She tries to extend compassion and hope, not only to those who are often at one of the lowest points of their lives, but to the families who love them as well. In so doing, she continues the Alday family tradition of giving back to the community and reminds others that everyone is worthy of both redemption and forgiveness; sometimes they just need a little help along the way.