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Man indicted in siblings’ double murder from 1990 after he’s linked via DNA

Written by on June 26, 2024

(DECATUR, Ga.) — Thirty-four years after a brother and sister were murdered, a man has been indicted in the slayings when he was linked to the cold case via DNA, Georgia prosecutors said.

John Sumpter was stabbed and his sister, Pamela Sumpter, was raped and stabbed at their Stone Mountain apartment on July 15, 1990, according to the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office.

John Sumpter, 46, died at the scene, prosecutors said.

Pamela Sumpter, 43, survived and underwent a rape kit at the hospital, prosecutors said.

Pamela Sumter told police that her brother had brought a male acquaintance over, and she provided a description of him and said he was from Detroit, prosecutors said.

Weeks later, on Aug. 5, 1990, Pamela Sumpter died from her injuries, prosecutors said.

The case went unsolved for decades.

Then, in 2022, state investigators sent the rape kit for testing “as part of its continuing initiative to test pre-1999 rape kit evidence,” the district attorney’s office said.

In February 2023, the DNA from the rape kit was uploaded to a statewide DNA database, but there was no match, prosecutors said.

The district attorney’s office said it then applied for and received a federal grant for prosecuting cases using DNA.

This February, the DNA was uploaded to a national database, and within days, it matched to a 1992 sexual assault case in Detroit, prosecutors said.

In the Detroit case — which was never prosecuted — the victim identified her assaulter as her ex-boyfriend, Kenneth Perry, the district attorney’s office said.

Police also sent the rape kit evidence to a private lab to use forensic genetic genealogy, in which the unknown DNA is identified by comparing it to family members who voluntarily submit DNA samples to a database, DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston said.

The genetic genealogy analysis also led investigators to Perry, Boston said.

Perry, now 55 and living in Loganville, Georgia, was arrested on June 6, the district attorney’s office announced Wednesday. The DNA sample collected from Perry when he was arrested was also a match to Pamela Sumpter’s rape kit, prosecutors said.

Perry was indicted Tuesday on charges including malice murder, felony murder and rape, prosecutors said. He is being held in the DeKalb County Jail without bond.

“We are here today because of incredible advancements in science and in investigative technology that have made what once seemed to be an unsolvable case, a solid case,” Boston said at a Wednesday. news conference.

“It’s been over 30 years since this terrible, evil tragedy happened to my brother and sister. We now have closure,” the victims’ brother, James Sumpter, said at the news conference. “I pray that the justice system prevails.”

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