Local News

Investigators: DNA Match for Crime That Put Innocent Man in Prison

Posted November 6, 2007 7:40 p.m. EST
Updated November 6, 2007 8:56 p.m. EST

— Investigators said they have solved a rape that put the wrong man in prison for 18 years. They have not, however, charged the person they now say did it.

Dwayne Allen Dail, 39, was cleared in August of the 1987 rape of a 12-year-old Goldsboro girl. The girl identified him as her attacker, and hair found at the scene was similar to his. DNA evidence found on a fragment of the girl's nightgown years after the trial proved Dail wasn't involved in the attack, however.

Investigators said Tuesday they have a DNA match that linked another man to the crime, but he has yet to be charged. The wait concerned Dail and his attorney.

“They've gotten a complete profile from the nightgown and they have matched that to someone who is in prison in North Carolina,” said Chris Mumma, the attorney who helped establish Dail’s innocence.

Mumma said investigators even took a new DNA sample from the inmate and confirmed a match.

“When there is an exact DNA match, that is sufficient in many cases to move forward with charges," Mumma said.

Dail's was in Florida Tuesday when WRAL spoke with him by telephone.

"I understand that maybe it takes a little bit of time, but I cannot understand where they got a 100 percent match on DNA and it's still taking this much time," Dail said. “I think there should be some charge."

Wayne County District Attorney Branny Vickory said he was confident the person will eventually be charged.

Vickory said part of the problem was that DNA evidence sat on a shelf for so long that investigators and witnesses have to be re-interviewed to properly account for the evidence.

The North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence helped find the DNA evidence that exonerated  Dail and led to his release

“I certainly wish that they had taken that much time with the investigation during my trial," Dail said.

"He is in custody, so I'm sure that takes the urgency off of it from a law enforcement perspective, but it doesn't take the urgency off of it from Dwayne Dail's perspective or the victim's perspective," Mumma said.

Dail and his attorney said they would understand if it took more time to go to trial, but they said they believe new charges in the case are long overdue.

Dail's attorney also said the DNA match points to a current inmate who once lived in the same neighborhood as Dail.