GBI searches home of man at center of overturned conviction in 1985 double murder

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The Georgia Bureau of Investigation on Thursday executed a search warrant at the home of Erik Sparre and his mother, who was found dead last month.

GBI agents said they continue to work to determine what involvement Erik Sparre, 57, may have had in the shooting deaths of Harold Swain and his wife, Thelma, at the Rising Daughter Baptist Church in Woodbine in 1985. Dennis Perry was found guilty of those murders, but a judge overturned that conviction after the GBI reopened the case.

The GBI said the search at the property on Stafford Road in Waynesville was part of its ongoing investigation into those murders 35 years ago.

On Thursday, News4Jax spoke with Sparre’s brother.

“You look at the pictures and you see their stuff strung apart in the yard and laying on tarps,” Sparre said. “There’s nothing you can do about it. It’s rough.”

The GBI has executed a search warrant on the home of the late Gladys Sparre in Brantley Co. Agents continue to work to determine what involvement Erik Sparre had in the Swain’s deaths. Anyone w/ info. is urged to contact the GBI at 1-800-597-TIPS (8477).

— GA Bureau of Investigation (@GBI_GA) August 6, 2020

According to the GBI, Gladys Sparre, 79, was found dead the morning of July 19 at her Waynesville residence. The GBI said the Brantley County Sheriff’s Office asked its Kingsland office was asked to investigate her death. Peter Sparre claims his mother died two days earlier, on the day Perry’s conviction was overturned.

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“Do you think that her death has anything to do with the overturned conviction, or anything,” reporter Corley Peel asked Peter Sparre.

“No. I know for a fact that, that is not the case,” Peter Sparre said. “That weekend, my brother was with me.”

Despite DNA evidence, Erik Sparre has not been named a suspect in the Swain murders.

Peter Sparre says the investigations have been difficult for their family, especially losing his mother who was a former model and substitute teacher.

“Mom was an angel,” he said. “She’s probably the most religious person you’d ever meet.”

The GBI said July 20 an autopsy has been conducted and was pending results of further forensic testing and investigative efforts.

Judge grants new trial in 1985 double murder

Perry was arrested in the deaths of the Swains in 2000. A jury convicted him of killing the Swains in 2003, but on July 17, a Glynn County Judge overturned his conviction, based upon new developments in the case.

Superior Court Judge Stephen Scarlett decided to grant Perry a new trial in the shooting deaths of the Swains after new DNA evidence linked the crime to another man — Camden County detectives’ first suspect in the case.

On July 23, the judge ordered Perry freed on his own recognizance pending a retrial.

Attorney’s for Perry asked for a new trial after new evidence emerged, including DNA evidence.

Perry has denied involvement in the deaths since his arrest. Perry was convicted largely on the testimony …read more

Source:: Headlines News4jax

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