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July 17, 2020

Pro Bono Client’s Conviction for Double Murder Overturned as Judge Orders New Trial


July 17, 2020 - King & Spalding with co-counsel Georgia Innocence Project secured a new trial for pro bono client Dennis Perry after matching DNA recovered from the crime scene in 1985 to an alternate suspect during re-investigation of the case. A Superior Court Judge today ordered a new trial for Perry, following a contested hearing in Glynn County, Georgia, in which attorneys from King & Spalding and Georgia Innocence Project presented evidence that not only exonerates Perry in the 1985 double murder of Harold and Thelma Swain, but also implicates an alternate suspect.

For over three decades, Perry has maintained his innocence in the deaths of a deacon and his wife who were shot in the vestibule of Rising Daughter Baptist Church during an evening bible study in Waverly, Georgia, on March 11, 1985.

K&S and the Georgia Innocence Project filed an Extraordinary Motion for New Trial in April 2020 after GIP’s investigator collected DNA evidence that was then matched to DNA evidence recovered from the crime scene in 1985. The DNA evidence implicates an alternate suspect who, witnesses testified on Monday, had a false alibi and has repeatedly bragged about committing the murders in the years since the crime occurred.

King & Spalding’s pro bono team included Phil Holladay, Susan Clare, Pete Robinson, Philip Green, Joshua Toll, Nell Henson, Leila Morgan, Katherine Mueller, Rebeca Ojeda, Melanie Papadopoulos, Mark Sentenac, Benjamin Watson, and Debi Anderson.

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