11/20/13 — Neal headed back to court

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Neal headed back to court

By John Joyce
Published in News on November 20, 2013 1:46 PM

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William Neal

William Jackson Neal, who is serving a life term in prison for raping a 12-year-old girl in 1987, has filed a motion seeking a new trial or a reduction in sentence.

Neal, 58, was found guilty in Wayne County Superior Court after DNA evidence freed Dwayne Dail, who had served 18 years for the crime.

The DNA evidence was used to determine Neal's guilt.

He is currently serving time in the Pamlico Correctional Center.

The Wayne County District Attorney's Office said the matter will not likely be resolved until after the first of the year.

"I want to give this the attention it deserves," Assistant District Attorney Matthew Delbridge said.

Delbridge said he plans to work through the holidays preparing arguments against Neal's motion, adding that the district attorney's office is focused on ensuring that the conviction stands.

Neal was convicted by the same evidence that exonerated Dail in 2007.

The evidence was believed to have been destroyed following Dail's conviction in 1989 but some pieces, including the victim's nightgown, were discovered in 2001 in a Goldsboro Police Department storage locker.

Dail was eventually set free and pardoned by the governor. On Monday, the Goldsboro City Council announced it had reached a $7.5 million settlement with Dail, who had sued the city for negligence.

Neal's motion contends that his lawyers did not vigorously defend the case by failing to attack the evidence based on the time it was unaccounted for.

The district attorney's office refutes Neal's claims, saying the evidence was never out of police custody.