11/07/07 — DNA matched in Dail rape case

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DNA matched in Dail rape case

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on November 7, 2007 1:48 PM

No one has been charged yet and certainly no arrests have been made, but thanks to the DNA evidence that exonerated Dwayne Dail after 18 years in prison, there now may be a new suspect in the 1987 rape of a 12-year-old girl.

Dail's attorney, Christine Mumma, director of the N.C. Center for Actual Innocence, explained that the match was actually made about two months ago, but that the news wasn't announced.

"When Dwayne Dail was released, they had a match," she said. "Then they did a verification swab within a couple of weeks of Dwayne's exoneration. We didn't talk about this for quite a while, but it's been over two months and I feel there should be little bit more movement.

"I'm sure they're trying to gather other evidence, but an exact DNA match has been plenty of proof (in the past) for charges."

She would not, however, identify the suspect, saying only that he is currently serving time in a state prison and that "he was living in Goldsboro at the time of the rape."

She is hopeful, though, that charges will soon be on their way.

Wayne County District Attorney Branny Vickory would not confirm that there is a suspect.

"I don't know why it's bubbled up to the top here, yesterday or today," he said. "We're still investigating it, and it's still going forward. Some folks don't think we're moving quickly enough. We just want to do a thorough investigation and be ready with it.

"We want to re-interview everybody that was involved in the original investigation and follow some more leads that we have in the case."

The leaking of such information, though, is making those efforts more difficult, said Goldsboro Sgt. Chad Calloway.

"(Ms. Mumma) appears to know more about this case than the people who are involved in the investigation," he said. "We don't have any information to give, outside of we're still working on it."

He explained that their goal is to identify and convict the right man, but he added that "it's kind of hard to reach that goal when someone that's outside the investigation seems to know more about it than we do."

"As soon as we get to that point we would be the next happiest entity outside of Mr. Dail himself," Calloway said.

The investigation is trying to find the man who actually raped a 12-year-old girl in 1987 in Goldsboro.

It was a crime that Dail was wrongly convicted of and sentenced to life in prison for in March 1989.

In August, however, evidence that was thought to have been destroyed was discovered in an evidence locker at the Goldsboro Police Department. A DNA test of a spot of semen on a nightgown revealed that Dail was, in fact, not the guilty party and he was released on Aug. 28.

He was then pardoned by Gov. Mike Easley on Oct. 10.

Finding out who actually committed the crime, Ms. Mumma said, would be a final piece of the puzzle.

"It's closure for him. Even though he's been pardoned, this is a final stage that he needs for closure," she said. "He's stated all along that the one person he's angry with is the man who committed this crime and knew he was sitting in jail for a crime he didn't commit."

Dail acknowledged knowing who the guilty party is, would be a burden lifted.

"It will be, I'm sure, a bit of closure for me," he said. "Obviously I can't say, but I have an idea about who this person is, and I'd like to be there at the trial.

"I want the opportunity to look that person in the face. I'd like to see him tried by a jury, convicted, and sentenced to at least what I got."

He also said that he wishes there was a way this man could be punished, not only for what he did to the girl and her family, but also for what he did to him and his family.

But Dail did say that he doesn't necessarily mind the fact that it's taking so long to file charges.

"I most definitely want them to be sure they've crossed all their Ts and dotted all their Is on this one," he said. "A 100 percent DNA match is hard to refute, but I understand that they're taking their time.

"I'd rather them take their time and make sure it's right and get this person locked away for the rest of their life."

He also hopes that by finding and convicting the right man this time, that it can finally bring some closure to the victim and her family.

Eventually, Ms. Mumma added, she would like for the two of them to meet.

"There has been history in other cases that this is an important step in the healing process. Dwayne is definitely open to it," she said.

They have not, however, spoken to the victim.