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He spent two decades in prison for church murders. New DNA evidence shows someone else did it

July 20, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 22%. 1 min read.

Dennis Perry, center, standing beside wife Brenda Perry gets emotional while thanking the team from the Georgia Innocence Project after they worked to get his release after 20 years behind bars, Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Nicholls, Ga. A judge on Monday, July 19, 2021 dismissed all charges against the man convicted of the 1985 slayings of a couple at a south Georgia church, exonerating him after he spent two decades behind bars, the man's attorneys said. (Stephen B. Morton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

A man who spent two decades in prison for a 1985 double homicide during church bible study has been exonerated, with all charges against him dropped.

Perry, 59, "may have been acquitted if that evidence had been available" during his 2003 trial for the murders of Harold and Thelma Swain in Georgia, according to a news release from Glynn County District Attorney Keith Higgins.

In February 2020, private investigators working for Perry were able to get a hair sample from a Brantley County woman who is the mother of a man implicated, but not charged, in the 1985 Swain murders, according to the district attorney's news release.

On the evening on their murders, the Swains were in bible study at Rising Daughter Baptist Church in Waverly, according to a news release from Georgia Innocence Project.

The case quickly went cold, Higgins' release said, but it was reopened by the Camden County Sheriff's Office in 1998, according to a release from the Georgia Innocence Project.

Since his release from prison, Perry has been spending time at home with his wife, Brenda, and reconnecting with friends and family, trying to recover and readjust to this new chapter of his life, the news release from Georgia Innocence Project said.

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