International Herald TribuneWhat can you possibly say?
GOLDSBORO, North Carolina A man who remained in prison for 18 years after being wrongly convicted of child rape was released Tuesday after new DNA testing cleared him of the crime.
Dwayne Allen Dail, now 39, hugged his attorney as Wayne County Superior Court Judge Jack Hooks Jr. set aside his conviction.
District Attorney Branny Vickory had asked the judge to dismiss the original charges against Dail based on the new test results. The tests showed that DNA found on the 12-year-old victim's nightgown matched another man already in prison. The results also excluded Dail as the rapist.
"I'm a blessed man," Dail said, hugging his mother as other crying family members stood nearby. He said he never thought the conviction would be set aside.
The girl was raped in 1987 by an intruder who entered an apartment window, and the victim later identified Dail as the attacker.
Two life sentences plus 18 years. He never gave up hope. Never stopped proclaiming he was innocent. The North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence -- one of many similar projects around the country -- believed him. But it all would have been for nothing if the victim's nightgown hadn't been accidently saved, accidently found. DNA testing was done and today Mr. Dail is a free man. Compensation? Sure... he'll likely get $20 grand per year.
The State can lock you up for two life sentences plus 18 years on the word of a single 12 year old eye-witness with a compelling story and circumstantial evidence. Because someone has to pay. Shit. You bet I'm a believer in making damn sure the State meets its burden of proof. Every single goddamn time.
Welcome home Dwayne Allen Dail.