Man charged with 1990 double murder between brothers after DNA link

Thirty-four years after a brother and sister were murdered, a man has been charged with the killings after being linked to the cold case through DNA, Georgia prosecutors said.

John Sumpter was stabbed and his sister, Pamela Sumpter, was raped and stabbed in 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.

PHOTO: An undated photograph of John Sumpter, 46, who was killed on July 15, 1990. (DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office)

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

Pamela Sumter told police her brother had brought an acquaintance of his, 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.

PHOTO: An undated photo of murder victim Pamela Sumpter, 43. (DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office)

The case remained unsolved for decades.

Then in 2022, state investigators submitted the rape kit for analysis “as part of their ongoing initiative to analyze pre-1999 rape kit evidence,” the district attorney’s office said.

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

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Prosecutors said they then applied for and received a federal grant to prosecute cases using DNA.

In February of this year, the DNA was uploaded to a national database and within days was matched to a 1992 sexual assault case in Detroit, prosecutors said.

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

PHOTO: Kenneth Perry appears in a photograph published in 1994. (DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office)

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Police also sent evidence from the rape kit to a private lab to use forensic genetic genealogy, in which 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.

Genetic genealogy analysis also led investigators to Perry, Boston said.

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

PHOTO: Kenneth Perry, 55, of Loganville, Georgia, has been charged with counts including felony murder, first-degree murder and rape, prosecutors said. (DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office)

Perry was charged Tuesday with counts including felony murder, first-degree murder and rape, prosecutors said. He is being held in the DeKalb County Jail without bail.

“We’re here today because of incredible advances in science and investigative technology that have made what once seemed like an unsolvable case into a strong case,” Boston said at a news conference Wednesday.

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

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