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Man sentenced to life in prison in 1987 Goldsboro rape case

Posted April 28, 2010

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— A Superior Court judge sentenced a Goldsboro man Wednesday to three consecutive life sentences in prison in a 1987 rape case for which a wrongly accused man spent nearly two decades behind bars.

On Tuesday, a jury found William Jackson Neal Jr., 54, guilty of breaking into a Goldsboro home and raping a 12-year-old girl.

Dwayne Allen Dail was convicted of the crime in 1989 and spent 18 years in prison before DNA proved he wasn't involved.

Man sentenced for 1987 rape

Neal was sentenced to the maximum penalties in place when the crimes occurred.

He received life in prison for first-degree rape and first-degree statutory sexual offense. The judge also sentenced Neal to life in prison for first-degree burglary after a judge ruled there were aggravating factors.

Neal was also sentenced to 10 years in prison for taking indecent liberties with a minor.

The sentences will be served consecutively.

Neal, whose criminal record dates back to 1974, was serving a nearly 8-year prison sentence in Johnston County for a conviction on a habitual felon charge when he was charged in the rape case in May 2008.

At Neal's trial, Dail and the rape victim, Tomeshia Carrington-Artis, sat shoulder-to-shoulder in the same courtroom where Dail was convicted 21 years earlier. The two have become friends.

WRAL News does not usually identify sexual assault victims, but Carrington-Artis has come forward to speak publicly about her ordeal. She is now 35 and a mother of three.

Carrington-Artis and Dail met at the trial for the first time since he was freed in August 2007. She apologized to Dail, but he told her that he had never blamed her.

"William Neal did that to me and my family. She has no reason for guilt. Nobody but William Neal deserves guilt in that," Dail said Wednesday after the sentencing.

"Between the two of us we made sure that monster will never be able to touch another woman or child and never have another victim ever again," he continued.

Carrington-Artis described the sentence as a "sweet victory."

"I can breathe, no more scared little girl. I'm a survivor," she said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Bob3425 Apr 29, 2010

    Road-wearier -- It is actually cheap to lock them up for life, lawyer are sucking the system dry.

  • wildcat Apr 28, 2010

    Why are we not holding the prosecutors and witnesses accountable?

    Exactly! That would eliminate some of the carriage of mis-justice.

  • TommyK Apr 28, 2010

    Why are we not holding the prosecutors and witnesses accountable? Shouldn't the lawyers be held accountable? They understand the laws and the system and they should be punished for making false or erroneous accusations against innocent people. Someone needs to be punished for this.

  • luvbailey Apr 28, 2010

    For you history buffs out there, 2 items from internet research:

    "In the state's first execution on March 18, 1910, Walter Morrison was put to death in the electric chair. Morrison had been sentenced to death in Robeson Superior Court for rape." (NOTE: prior to this date all executions were local)....and

    "...by 1837, North Carolina required death for the crimes of murder, rape, statutory rape, slave-stealing, stealing bank notes, highway robbery, burglary, arson, castration,sodomy, bestiality, dueling where death occurs, hiding a slave with intent to free him, taking a free Negro out of state to sell him, bigamy, inciting slaves to rebel, circulating seditious literature among slaves, accessory to murder, robbery, burglary, arson, or mayhem and others. However, North Carolina did not have a state penitentiary and, many said, no suitable alternative to capital punishment."

  • Road-wearier Apr 28, 2010

    The real problem for me and capital punishment is that mankind and his systems are fallible. What if Dail had been executed? Not only would an innocent man be dead but a brutal rapist would still be on the streets doing God knows what all. What justice is being served there? I would rather spend the money to lock up 100,000 murderers than have one innocent man executed. Only God is perfect and He's not running our justice system!

  • reincarnatedasme Apr 28, 2010

    I don't understand.....How was the original conviction obtained, what evidence??? Did the girl ID him as the rapist? His life has been destroyed by this erroneous conviction. I believe in the death sentence for the rape of a child, but this case makes me rethink that...after all, years after conviction it is proven he was always innocent.

  • snshine62d Apr 28, 2010

    I caught a small part of the (girl) now woman on TV and was happy to see that she was able to go on and have what appeared like normal life. I don't know what she went through and how she was able to recover from something like that but saw that she went on to have 3 kids of her own. My hat goes off to her.

    In saying that I was glad to hear about the sentence that he recieved. I think he may be getting a little of his own medicine in jail from Bubba and the gang.

  • Lead by Example Apr 28, 2010

    Thank God the judge did the right thing and gave this man the maximum sentence on all counts, and made the punishments consecutive. This should prevent any chance of parole for this vile criminal.

  • hazeyc Apr 28, 2010

    Mugu - you along with DeathRow are just provocateurs. No truth or even good info from them. Just opinions intended to create comments in response to them - like mine here.

  • hazeyc Apr 28, 2010

    "Didn't the D/A or sherriff's dept still want a DNA sample from Mr Dail, or am I confusing it with another case?"

    This is for the Greg Taylor case. He still hasn't gotten his belongings back and Bev Purdue still hasn't pardoned him and he still hasn't received any compensation from the state. Oh yeah - $45.

    Now that makes me angry about the treatment of an innocent man!!!

    Tomeshia & Dwayne - glad you got your final closure!!!