Georgia December 28, 2017
The Terrifying Story Behind This Old-Timey Saloon In Georgia Still Haunts The Neighborhood
One of the most famous bars in Georgia in the 1970s was T.K Harty’s Saloon. People would come to Athens, Georgia from all over to hang at this local watering hole. Until one day, when a savage murder rocked the entire town, leaving behind a trail of question marks in it’s wake. In fact, the terrifying story behind this old-timey saloon still haunts the neighborhood of Athens to this day. If you’ve never heard of the story behind the murder of T.K. Harty, then this is one read that’ll have you hooked until the end.
T.K. Harty’s Saloon was the go-to place in Athens in the 1970s to get a few beers and hang with the locals.
With a mix of University of Georgia college students, business professionals, union workers and residents just looking for a night out, T.K. Harty’s was always packed.
Harty himself was known around town.
In fact, he was the first bar and restaurant in Athens to build an outside deck!
Yet, no one expected the murder of businessman and local hero T.K. Harty in Athens, Georgia in the 1970s.
At the time of the murder, Athens was considered to be an All-American style college town, where the only types of crime that occurred involved not using a turn signal.
But what shocked the town most of all was how T.K. Harty was murdered—shot execution style, slumped over his desk.
Rumors began to fly about who could’ve done such a terrible thing to a beloved man.
As the story unfolded, there was business competition in town from a neighboring pizza joint called Somebody’s Pizza.
The place run by John Mooney, started selling pitchers of beer half the price of what T.K’s Saloon was, or selling nickel beers instead of dime beers.
In 1977, Harty was fed up with the undercutting of his business and bought the lease of all the buildings, now owning the spot where Somebody’s Pizza called home.
The feud between T.K. Harty and John Mooney escalated quickly between threats of eviction to attempted arson which actually set fire to and damaged T.K.’s deck.
It wasn’t until T.K. Harty showed up dead one evening when he didn't show up to his girlfriend's place that all eyes were on Mooney.
As it turned out, Mooney was accused of hiring a hitman by the name of Elmo Liston Florence to murder Harty. Both men were convicted of murder in 1978 and sentenced to life in prison.
But the story doesn’t stop there—in 1980, Mooney escaped from Wayne County medium-security prison and took off in a car waiting for him down the road.
It wasn’t until the 1989 television show "Unsolved Mysteries" that profiled the case that led to the tip regarding the whereabouts of John Mooney.
While Mooney still sits in jail, Florence, the convicted hitman, was paroled in 2007 and became a free man in the state.
While the story that remained a mystery for so long may seemingly have a surprise ending, it still leaves a terrifying stain on the history of beautiful Athens, Georgia.
Have you ever heard about the murder of T.K. Harty? Share with us your stories in the comments section. Otherwise, if you’re looking to take another trip through Georgia history, then have a look at
The Mythical Creature That Tormented A Small Georgia Town Will Give You Nightmares.