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Georgia Man’s Body Exhumed Following New Investigation

A senior criminalist works on extracting DNA at a laboratory in Richmond, Calif. Officials say they're searching for new DNA evidence from a Georgia man's body that will hopefully lead them to the real killer.
A senior criminalist works on extracting DNA at a laboratory in Richmond, Calif. Officials say they're searching for new DNA evidence from a Georgia man's body that will hopefully lead them to the real killer.
Credit Jeff Chiu / AP Photo
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The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has exhumed the body of a southeast Georgia man killed in 1985.

Officials say they’re searching for new DNA evidence from Harold Swain’s body that will hopefully lead them to the real killer.

Harold Swain and his wife, Thelma, were murdered inside the Rising Daughter Baptist Church in Waverly, Georgia, 35 years ago.

Dennis Perry was convicted of the crime. But that conviction was overturned last week when a new investigation found DNA evidence recovered from the crime scene matched a different suspect, Erik Sparre, 57, of Brantley County.

Sparre’s mother, Gladys Sparre, contributed the hair that provided the key DNA evidence that led to the overturning of Perry’s conviction.

The 79-year-old woman was found dead in her Waynesville home two days after the judge ordered Perry to be freed.

Authorities have not said how she died.

In July, a judge ordered Dennis Perry freed on bond. He’d already served 20 years in prison.

Meanwhile, Harold Swain’s brother Charlie Swain says decades later, the murders of his loved ones still bring him pain.

 

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