A judge on Tuesday rejected the double murder accusations against a Georgia man who spent 20 years in prison.
Dennis Perry, 59, was convicted in 2003 and sentenced to life in prison for the 1985 Harold and Thelma murders Swain, who was killed after a white man entered a black church in Camden County and shot his gun. weapon during an evening Bible study session, according to the Georgia Innocence Project , which aims to exonerate the innocent and besieged Perry with his case.
"It took a long time, but I never gave up," Perry said in a statement on Monday. "JI knew someone else would see the truth eventually and I am so grateful to Georgia Innocence Project and King & Spalding for shedding light on the truth. This indictment has been hanging over me for over 20 years, and it 's such a relief not to have to worry about being accused of this horrible thing anymore. "
Judge dismisses charges against male Georgia charged with murder after 20 years in prison. (Fox 5 Atlanta)
Police interviewed "hundreds " of suspects, including Perry, after the 1985 murders, but Perry only became a prime suspect after the Camden County Sheriff promised former Deputy Dale Bundy a job if he could solve the case, according to GIP.
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Perry was sentenced after his ex-girlfriend's mother testified that he said he wanted to kill Harold Swain. It was later revealed that authorities would have awarded the mother $ 12,000 for her testimony, Fox 5 Atlanta reported.
Glynn County Superior Court Judge Stephen Scarlett has granted Perry a new trial in 2020 after the DNA evidence from the crime scene did not match that of Perry and an Atlanta Constitution-Journal report led authorities to a different suspect.
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Scarlett gr filed a motion to dismiss the case on Monday, and the judicial district attorney of Brunswick, Keith Higgin, said he would not pursue the case. Higgin said the Swains family "did not believe that Dennis Perry had committed these murders " and gave him his blessing not to continue the case against Perry, reported Fox 5.
"We are grateful that, finally, the new District Attorney of the New Brunswick Judicial Circuit, Keith Higgins, was willing to assess this case on the basis of the principles of justice and dismiss the charges, rather than simply fighting for a conviction at all costs, "said IPTF Executive Director Clare Gilbert in a statement on Monday.
Since his release, Perry has spent time with his wife, Brenda, and reconnected with friends, according to GIP, who has organized a fundraiser for the 59-year-old man so he can readjust to life outside of prison after spending two decades behind bars.
"I am grateful may this part of the nightmare be behind me, "Perry told reporters outside a Georgia courthouse on Monday, according to Fox 5.
The Associated Press contributed to this report .