Prosecutor Considering Whether Two Georgia Baptists Were Murdered in 1985 at Church Because They Were Black

Image: Google Maps
Image: Google Maps

For 36 years, the murder of a Baptist deacon and his wife in the vestibule of their small white church off a two-lane highway in southern Georgia has been attributed to robbery, drugs, or revenge.

But now the district attorney in Glynn County, Georgia, is considering filing new charges and naming a new motive: racism. If the prosecutor decides to try to bring the 1985 homicide to trial in 2021, his office will argue that 66-year-old Harold and 63-year-old Thelma Swain were shot to death because they were Black.

According to District Attorney Keith Higgins’s office, the review is “ongoing,” as the prosecutor considers options and available evidence to make the case.

The new evidence, collected and processed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), showed that the man convicted of the double murder in 2003 was innocent. Dennis Perry was released from prison in July 2020 after two decades of incarceration. Last week, the prosecutor dismissed all further charges, exonerating Perry.

The GBI’s evidence points to another suspect: Erik Sparre. The mitochondrial DNA of two hairs found in the hinge of a distinctive pair of glasses left at the scene were matched to Sparre’s mother’s DNA, meaning they came from Sparre or someone in his matrilineal line.

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Source: Christianity Today, Daniel Silliman