08/30/07 — Victim's father speaks out on Dail case

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Victim's father speaks out on Dail case

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on August 30, 2007 1:46 PM

It was 2:30 on a warm early autumn morning in 1987.

A 12-year-old girl was alone in her bed, while her mother and brother slept just a few feet away.

All of a sudden an unknown man slashed her screen and came through the window.

The girl tried to run, but the man shut the door to her bedroom, making it difficult for her to escape.

He grabbed her around the neck from behind and pulled out a knife.

He put the knife to her throat and told her not to scream.

And then, he raped her.

That is the chilling testimony that is part of the transcript from the trial that sent 20-year-old Dwayne Allen Dail to prison for a crime for which he would later be cleared.

And now that Dail's life has been set right, the parents of the victim -- and the now 32-year-old woman who lived through that morning attack -- will have to go through another manhunt, another trial, another trauma.

Her father, Don Carrington, said she is still afraid -- even after 20 years.

He said his daughter, who is now married, is unsure if she wants to go through another criminal investigation.

"She's upset," he said. "She's got mixed emotions."

He, too, is a bit torn.

"After all these years, people now say he didn't do it," Carrington said.

Now, he isn't sure what to think about who raped his teenage daughter in 1987.

After new evidence was discovered, Dail was set free Tuesday morning after DNA testing proved he could not have been the victim's attacker.

The news that long-lost evidence had been discovered came as a shock -- and brought up some worries and doubts about the process.

"But, I guess the evidence doesn't lie," he said. "Some of the (old) evidence is missing. Why was the evidence in the bicycle closet? Is this the way (the police) keep their evidence? The evidence could have been compromised."

He said he thinks the whole case is a bit strange.

"Why wasn't it all kept together, the nightgown and the other stuff?" he asked, suggesting that no one might ever know the answer because the man who put the items there -- Sgt. Ron Melvin -- is now dead.

So, he and his daughter will wait for news about the real criminal -- and feel for the man who spent 18 years behind bars for the crime.

"If he didn't do it, I'm happy for him," he said. "I hate to see a person locked up for all that time and be innocent. But if he did do it, you'll have a man walking free."

But that doesn't make either any less afraid.

They hope that there will be no reprecussions for the victim.

Carrington said his daughter did not make the final decision that sent Dwayne Dail to prison.

"She was only 12 years old at the time," he said. "She picked out the one who she thought did it. My daughter is not the only one responsible for him being put in jail.

"Other evidence was used to convict him. A jury convicted him. They could have hired a better attorney."

Dail had a court-appointed attorney for the original trial, according to court records.

Carrington hopes this time more questions will be asked, and the guilty party will be found and will pay for the crime.

Even though Carrington is undecided about the entire situation, he said he hopes for his daughter's continued well-being.

Carrington refused to allow his daughter to speak to keep her from having to relive that night, the trial or the pain that followed.

"Let (Dail) go to the beach and have a good time," he said. "But, don't bother my daughter."