Perry exonerated in 1985 Camden County murder
Jul. 20—A man who served 20 years in prison for a double murder before DNA evidence showed he was wrongly convicted was exonerated Monday by Brunswick Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Stephen Scarlett. Dennis Perry was arrested in 2000 and charged with the 1985 murders of Harold and Thelma Swain at a church in north Camden County. Keith Higgins, district attorney for the Brunswick Judicial ...news.yahoo.com
GBI searches home of man at center of overturned conviction in 1985 double murder
WAYNESVILLE, Ga. – The Georgia Bureau of Investigation on Thursday executed a search warrant at the home of Erik Sparre and his mother, who was found dead last month. Dennis Perry was found guilty of those murders, but a judge overturned that conviction after the GBI reopened the case. Agents continue to work to determine what involvement Erik Sparre had in the Swain’s deaths. “That weekend, my brother was with me.”Despite DNA evidence, Erik Sparre has not been named a suspect in the Swain murders. The words that Head said he recalled were similar to those his family told police that Erik Sparre used in 1986.
Georgia Innocence Project worked on getting Dennis Perry out of prison for more than a decade
The Georgia Innocence Project, an independent organization, fought on Perry’s behalf to get the conviction overturned and for him to be released. Perry’s family says his late mother wrote to the Georgia Innocence Project in the early 2000s, asking the organization to represent her son in what she said was a wrongful conviction. For more than a decade, the Georgia Innocence Project has worked on getting Perry out of prison. I just want to go home now.”Attorneys from the law firm King & Spalding and the Georgia Innocence Project were in Perry’s corner. The Georgia Innocence Project has been working with and for Perry since 2004.
Bond hearing today for Georgia man whose murder conviction was thrown out
BRUNSWICK, Ga. A man who has lived through what his attorney calls a 20-plus year nightmare may walk out the Coffee County Correctional Facility today. A judge decided Friday to grant a Georgia mans request for a new trial in the 1985 shooting deaths of a husband and wife. With a new trial, Dennis Perry has another shot at getting out of prison on bond. The 58-year-old Perry has been in prison for 20 years, but his attorneys asked for a new trial after DNA evidence emerged tying another suspect to the crime scene. Forensic examiner Gloria Dimick said Perrys DNA doesnt match the hair, but a sample from Sparres mother does match.
Woman whose DNA evidence was pivotal in overturned murder conviction found dead
The GBI later said it was investigating Gladys Sparre’s death. The deceased has been identified as Gladys Sparre, age 79. The Gladys Sparre death investigation remains active and ongoing.https://t.co/9QkZ4FvKgN pic.twitter.com/RCb4YFXv5X — GA Bureau of Investigation (@GBI_GA) July 20, 2020A friend who worshiped with Gladys Sparre described her as a gentle woman. Court documents show Erik Sparre was arrested a year after the murders but ultimately the state did not pursue charges against Erik Sparre. In February of this year, a GIP investigator obtained a voluntary hair DNA sample from Gladys Sparre.
Judge grants new trial in 1985 murder of Georgia couple
BRUNSWICK, Ga. A judge decided Friday to grant a Georgia mans request for a new trial in the 1985 shooting deaths of a husband and wife. The 58-year-old Perry has been in prison for 20 years, but his attorneys asked for a new trial after DNA evidence emerged tying another suspect to the crime scene. But Superior Court Judge Stephen Scarlett said in his order granting Perry a new trial that the DNA test linking Sparre to the scene would have resulted in a different verdict at Perrys 2003 trial. Dennis Perry was convicted of double murder eighteen years after the fact without any physical evidence connecting him to the crime scene, Scarlett wrote. Newly discovered DNA evidence links another suspect, one whose alibi for the night of the murders may have been fabricated, to the key piece of evidence recovered from the crime scene.
Judge could decide soon on new trial in 1985 Georgia murders
BRUNSWICK, Ga. A judge says he could decide by Friday whether a Georgia man should get a new trial in the 1985 shooting deaths of a husband and wife. But his attorneys are seeking a new trial after DNA evidence emerged tying another suspect to the crime scene. Perry was convicted in 2003 largely on the testimony of his ex-girlfriends mother, who said Perry had told her he planned to kill Harold Swain. Sparres second wife, Rhonda Tyson, testified that Sparre told her one day in the late 1980s that he killed the Swains. Instead, Superior Court Judge Stephen Scarlett must decide whether the DNA test linking Sparre to the scene would have resulted in a different verdict at Perrys 2003 trial.
Judge could grant man convicted in 1985 Camden County church murders a new trial
In May, Perry’s attorneys filed an extraordinary motion for new trial based on new DNA evidence discovered in the case. Court documents show the new DNA evidence from the hairs excludes Dennis Perry and includes a man named Erik Sparre. “Dennis Perry, as well as all of his maternal relatives, would be excluded,” said Gloria Dimick, with Mitotyping Technologies. Often times, she has brought with her loved ones, including the couple’s grandchildren who call Dennis Perry “Papa Sunshine.”Loved ones have not been able to see Dennis Perry behind bars since March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Last month, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles tentatively granted Dennis Perry clemency with a release date in September.
Man convicted in 1985 Camden County church murders to get hearing for new trial
CAMDEN COUNTY, Ga. – Attorneys for a man convicted of the 1985 murders of two people inside a Camden County church and the Brunswick District Attorney’s Office met with a judge on Wednesday to discuss his fate. It’s not safe for him in the prison, and he’s an innocent man,” Suzanne Baugh, Perry’s first cousin, told News4Jax. He 38 years old when he was arrested in 2000 in the 1985 murders of Deacon Harold Swain and his wife, Thelma. I-TEAM: Man convicted in 1985 Camden County church murders wants new trialOn Monday, June 29, the state filed papers saying it would not be prepared for a hearing on July 13. New DNA evidence in the 1985 murders excludes Perry, according to new court documents.
Family member worried about inmate housed in Georgia prison with more than 170 COVID-19 cases
The Georgia prison with the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 was Coffee Correctional Facility, the state Department of Corrections reported Saturday. As of Saturday, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections website, the facility had more confirmed cases of COVID-19 than any other prison within the system. The GDC website showed 174 inmates had tested positive for the coronavirus and one had recovered as of Saturday. All new inmates and inmates returning from court are administered a COVID-19 test. The GDC said inmates who are symptomatic will be placed in a designed medical isolation unit while awaiting test results.
Georgia lawmaker calls for removal of embattled DA
A Georgia lawmaker is calling for the removal of an embattled district attorney whose office has been accused of fumbling the investigation into the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. Brian Kemp, he expressed strong support for the removal of Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson. He and his son, Travis, were arrested last month after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case. The Glynn County community is experiencing a high degree of pain and grief as a result of Ahmaud Arberys tragic death in February 2020, Jones memo stated. Baugh said she wants to see changes within the DAs office now and backs the recommendation Jones made to Kemp.
Man convicted in 1985 Camden County church murders wants new trial
In 2003, Dennis Perry was convicted of killing Deacon Harold Swain and his wife, Thelma, inside the Rising Daughter Baptist Church in Spring Bluff. The police report detailing what happened said a man came to the church asking to speak with Deacon Swain. Harold got up and said, I wonder what he wants with me? explained the witness. News4Jax has covered the crimes since 1985, at the time, speaking to Vanzola Williams -- another witness inside the church. DNA evidence collected from the hairs found on the glasses had excluded Perry as a contributor.
Despite conviction, authorities reopen 1985 Woodbine murder case
Published: May 13, 2020, 9:56 pm Updated: May 14, 2020, 6:51 amKINGSLAND, Ga. – The case of a couple shot to death at a Woodbine church has been reopened because of some possible new evidence, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Wednesday. In 2003, the case was closed after Dennis Perry was convicted of the murders. But the GBI will re-examine the investigation and evidence in the case to determine the significance of the possible new evidence, the Bureau said in a news release. The GBI and the Camden County Sheriff’s Office reopened the case Wednesday. Anyone with information pertinent to this investigation is asked to call authorities at 1-800-597-TIPS (8477).