Man charged in 20-year-old rape police blamed on another

GOLDSBORO — Science freed Dwayne Dail last summer after he spent half his life in prison for rape. On Monday, it helped indict a man investigators say eluded them for 20 years.

William Jackson Neal Jr., a 52-year-old Goldsboro man, was charged with several child sex offenses stemming from the September 1987 attack on a 12-year-old girl. Neal is three years into a seven-year term in state prison for a string of burglaries.

A single droplet of semen on the girl's nightgown — forgotten for two decades — upended the lives of three families. Investigators tested the droplet last summer, years after science became sophisticated enough to match a man to his fluids. The DNA test proved Dail wasn't the rapist. Neal's name arose after investigators matched the droplet with his DNA profile in a database of North Carolina's convicted criminals.

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