The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is continuing its probe into a 1985 double murder in north Camden County in a case that was reopened in May at the request of the district attorney’s office.
Stacy Carson, special agent in charge of the GBI regional office in Kingsland, said nothing has changed about the investigation, which is ongoing.
She said five special agents have been assigned to the case.
“It’s very challenging and time consuming,” she said about reopening a 35-year-old investigation.
Authorities interviewed suspects after the 1985 murders of Harold and Thelma Swain in a church vestibule, but they never found physical evidence linking anyone to the crime.
The Camden County Sheriff’s Office reopened the investigation about 15 years later and charged Dennis Perry of Jacksonville, Fla., with the crime.
Perry, now 58, was convicted of murder with no physical evidence. The testimony of one person, later paid $12,000 in reward money, helped prosecutors convince a jury he was guilty. He was sentenced to life in prison, denying involvement the entire time.
The Georgia Innocence Project and King & Spalding Law Firm filed a motion for a new trial in the Glynn County Courthouse on behalf of Perry last spring. King & Spalding provided Perry’s legal representation pro bono.
Perry’s conviction was overturned in July. He was freed from prison after serving more than 20 years behind bars when new DNA evidence excluded him from the crime but linked another man, Erik Sparre, who was questioned in 1985 as a possible suspect.
Two days after Perry’s conviction was overturned, Gladys Sparre, the mother of the other suspect, was found dead in her Waynesboro home.
Carson said the death investigation is ongoing and she can’t comment until the crime lab reports are completed.