DNA Leads to Arrest in 1990 Georgia Murders After Decades-Long Investigation

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Written By Lori Walker

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Thirty-four years after a brother and sister were killed, a man has been charged with their murders after DNA linked him to the cold case, Georgia prosecutors announced.

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

John Sumpter, aged 46, died at the scene, prosecutors said. Pamela Sumpter, aged 43, survived initially and underwent a rape kit at the hospital. She told police that her brother had brought a male acquaintance over, providing a description and stating he was from Detroit.

Tragically, Pamela Sumpter succumbed to her injuries on August 5, 1990, prosecutors said. The case remained unsolved for decades.

In 2022, state investigators sent the rape kit for testing as part of an initiative to process older rape kit evidence. By February 2023, the DNA from the kit was uploaded to a statewide database with no initial match. Subsequently, a federal grant aided further investigation.

In February of this year, the DNA was entered into a national database, quickly linking it to a 1992 sexual assault case in Detroit involving Kenneth Perry, although that case was never prosecuted. Additional genetic genealogy analysis connected Perry to the Sumpter case.

Kenneth Perry, now 55 and residing in Loganville, Georgia, was arrested on June 6. DNA collected from Perry during his arrest matched Pamela Sumpter’s rape kit, leading to his indictment on charges including malice murder, felony murder, and rape. He is held without bond in DeKalb County Jail.

“We’re here today because of incredible advancements in science and investigative technology, turning what seemed an unsolvable case into a strong one,” said District Attorney Sherry Boston at a news conference.

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

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