Joshua Sharpe covers crime and criminal justice for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (Tyson Horne / Tyson.Horne@ajc.com)
Photo: Tyson Horne
Photo: Tyson Horne

“Breakdown” special episode: The Rising Daughter church murder investigation

When AJC reporter Joshua Sharpe started looking into an old southeast Georgia murder case, the victims had been dead more than 30 years. And a man convicted of killing them, who has maintained his innocence, had served nearly 20 years in prison. 

Sharpe's reporting resulted in an AJC project, "The Imperfect Alibi," tracing the old story in light of new details, including tests that for the first time linked DNA evidence from the murder scene. DNA tests matched hair samples to a previous suspect who was investigated but never charged. 

Those tests led Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson to ask the GBI to reopen the decades-old case. And the man serving a prison sentence for the murders has asked a judge for a new trial. 

In this AJC podcast, Sharpe reads from his story, which is subtitled "The forgotten suspect, the DNA and the church murders that haunted a detective." 

Sharpe covers crime and public safety for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

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