Man sentenced to life in prison in 1987 Goldsboro rape case
Posted April 28, 2010 6:32 a.m. EDT
Updated April 28, 2010 5:45 p.m. EDT
Goldsboro, N.C. — 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.
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.