Dennis A. Perry, 59, a man who spent two decades in prison for a 1985 double homicide during church bible study has been exonerated after new discovered DNA evidence. Perry, formerly of Camden County, Georgia, was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences following his arrest in 2000. “It took a long time, but I never gave up,” Perry said in a news release Monday. “I knew that eventually someone else would see the truth, and I’m so grateful to the Georgia Innocence Project and King & Spalding [law firm] for bringing the truth to light. This indictment has been hanging over my head for over 20 years, and it’s such a relief to finally not have to worry about being accused of this awful thing.” In February 2020, private investigators working for Perry were able to get a hair sample from a Brantley County woman who is the mother of a man implicated, but not charged, in the 1985 Swain murders. Authorities identified Perry as the main suspect based mainly on testimony from an informant who wanted a $25,000 reward and ultimately was paid $12,000 in exchange for testimony.
The new evidence indicates that someone else murdered Harold and Thelma Swain. Mr Perry is now a free man. The federal standard to compensate those who are wrongfully convicted is a minimum of $50,000 per year of incarceration, plus an additional amount for each year spent on death row.