AJC ePaper Special: Behind the scenes of 35-year-old double murder case

The Imperfect Alibi special section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Imperfect Alibi special section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Judge grants bond to suspect behind bars for 20 years after convictions overturned

On Thursday, Dennis Perry became a free man after serving 20 years behind bars for murder convictions that were recently overturned.

In Friday’s ePaper edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, you can explore the case further: “The Imperfect Alibi” special section takes you inside how AJC reporter Joshua Sharpe uncovered a crucial clue that led to Perry’s release.

In 1985, a beloved couple was killed at a church in South Georgia. For years, DNA found at the crime scene didn’t match any of the suspects – until now. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation reopened the case that authorities believed they’d solved 15 years after it happened.

In “The Imperfect Alibi,” go behind the scenes and learn how Sharpe shed light on the 35-year-old double murder case. Explore the evidence files, photos, videos and a timeline. Our journalists and photographers reviewed thousands of documents and conducted dozens of interviews to shed light on a case many believed was over and settled.

Perry, 58, was arrested in 2000 and later convicted of the murders of Harold and Thelma Swain, who were shot inside the Rising Daughter Baptist Church in 1985. Perry’s convictions were overturned last week because of new DNA evidence linking a former suspect to the crime scene.

Brunswick Superior Court Judge Stephen Scarlett, who tossed the 2003 convictions, granted a signature bond for Perry to be released Thursday. With the convictions gone, Perry now faces the original murder charges while the Brunswick District Attorney’s Office decides whether to retry him.

>> Check out the special section in Friday’s ePaper.