08/28/07 — Released after 18 years in prison

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Released after 18 years in prison

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on August 28, 2007 10:25 AM

A man is expected to be released from prison today after spending 18 years for a crime he did not commit.

Dwayne Allen Dail, 39, of Goldsboro, was convicted March 30, 1989 of first-degree burglary, first-degree sex offense, first-degree rape and taking indecent liberties with a minor, all stemming from allegations that he raped a 12-year-old girl in 1987.

At the time of conviction, Dail was 20.

Lori Michaels, now 40, was pregnant with Dail's son, Christopher Michaels, when he went to prison, and she said she is elated that he might be free soon.

Dwayne Allen Dail

"It's about time," she said. "We have been fighting on this and working on this for a long time, trying to prove his innocence. We've all been robbed, but he's been robbed more and been through more pain than we all have. He's got a whole lot of life to catch up on."

Dail also has daughter, Kristina Michaels, 20.

"I had to go get Kristina today from Wilson, and we were behind him. he was in the transport car," Ms. Michaels said. "We didn't plan it that way. It just happened. So, we already got to see him."

Dail was sentenced to spend his life in prison, but recent evidence may set him free.

After the suspect's court appeals were exhausted, the evidence used in the trial was turned over to the police department and destroyed, in accordance with the law.

"There were some boxes that were not introduced into evidence that were found recently by the police department," Vickory said.

Two Goldsboro Police Department crime scene investigators, Robert Smith and William Cassady, were reorganizing a storage facility and stumbled on a box of evidence from the case that was not introduced in the trial.

The box of evidence contained the victim's nightgown, sheet and other evidence. "We resubmitted it to the lab and found evidence that excluded Mr. Dail," Vickory said.

He said he got a call from the director of the crime lab that Dail's DNA was excluded from semen found on some materials.

This is what prompted Vickory to ask Wayne County Superior Court Judge Jack Hooks to exonerate Dail on all charges.

Vickory said he believes what Dail has always affirmed — that he is innocent.

"We are saying Dwayne Dail is absolutely, innocent of this crime, and we're going to keep trying to get the person who did it," Vickory said.

If the judge agrees, Dail could leave the Wayne County Courthouse a free man, Vickory said.