08/29/07 — Vickory got the call that the DNA did not match Dail's

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Vickory got the call that the DNA did not match Dail's

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on August 29, 2007 1:46 PM

Wayne County District Attorney Branny Vickory has helped make sure one man will not spend his life in jail for a crime he did not commit.

Now he has to find the man who raped a 12-year-old girl nearly 20 years ago.

Dwayne Allen Dail, 39, a Goldsboro native, was freed Tuesday after spending 18 years in prison for a crime that he did not commit.

Vickory received a phone call from the state crime lab Monday informing him that evidence discovered in one of the police department's evidence rooms cleared Dail of the crime.

Once he heard the news, Vickory knew he needed to act fast.

To get Dail out of prison as soon as possible, Vickory asked for a hearing before Wayne County Superior Court Judge Jack Hooks Jr. at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

After presenting the new evidence and also laying out the information from the original case, Vickory asked the judge to exonerate Dail on all charges.

"This was an erroneous identification," Vickory said concerning the witness identification of Dail in the original trial.

Dail was originally charged with first-degree burglary, first-degree sex offense, first-degree rape, taking indecent liberties with a minor and lewd and lascivious behavior.

At trial, the lewd and lascivious behavior charge was dropped, but Dail was found guilty on all other counts.

He was sentenced to two life terms for the sex offense and rape convictions plus 18 years for the burglary and indecent liberties charges.

Vickory said this case shows that testing can be used for more than simply proving guilt. It was the DNA test that set Dail free.

"This goes to show that the mission of the crime lab is to show who did a crime and also who didn't do a crime," he said. "It's just as important to prove that someone is innocent as it is to prove that they are guilty."

But he knows his case is not finished yet.

Vickory plans to find the real perpetrator and said he hopes to get him behind bars just as fast as he helped free Dail from them.

"The police department is still working on it," he said. "This is not on the back burner."

Vickory has no false hope though. He knows the road will be paved with difficulty.

"You have to start all over from scratch," he said. "Because of age (of the case), a lot of dead ends might pop up because (people) might not be able to be interviewed anymore."