1990 Rape and double murder of DeKalb County siblings solved, suspect arrested

July 02, 2024

At approximately 3am on July 15, 1990, siblings, Pamela Sumpter, 43, and Jon Sumpter, 46, were attacked at their apartment on Tree Hills Park Way in Stone Mountain, DeKalb County.

Police responded to a stabbing report and found Pamela, who was injured, at a neighbor’s apartment.

When questioned she informed them that she had been raped and stabbed, and that her brother, who was still in their apartment, had also been fatally stabbed.

Pamela was taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for her injuries, and a sample of her attackers DNA was collected with a rape kit.

Although Jon Sumpter had died at the scene, Pamela was still alive, and was able to provide police with a description of the man who had attacked them.

She later died in a local hospital on August 5.

On  August 16, 1990, The Atlanta Journal published an article detailing a $1000 reward for information leading to the Sumpter sibling killers arrest. Police stated the victims had met their killer a week before he stabbed them to death, and that the man was either from, or visiting from, Detroit. He went by the name Eddie, or Al. She added that she did not know why her attacker was there at the apartment on the day of the attack.

Despite a detailed description, no suspect was arrested in the rape and double homicide, and the case inevitably went cold, staying that way for decades, until 2022.

In November 2022, while testing back-logged rape-kit evidence, Pamela Sumpter's kit was sent to a private lab in the hope a DNA profile for her killer could be obtained.

The following year, the attacker’s profile was entered into a Georgia-based database, unfortunately it turned up no matches.

It wasn't until fall of 2023, after the DA's office received a “Prosecuting Cold Cases Using DNA” grant, that the case gained momentum and in early 2024, the profile was uploaded into a nation-wide database, turning up a match.

The profile was linked to another sexual assault case from the early 1990s, a case that did not result in prosecution. The DA's office requested and received the case file, where they discovered the victim had identified a man named Kenneth Perry as her attacker - her ex-boyfriend.

An image of Perry from his 2024 arrest has been published by media outlets alongside an earlier mugshot from a 1994 arrest.

According to the Detroit Rape Kit Project: "a study conducted by the National Victim Center one in four females and one in six males will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime."

The project also reports that It finds the volume of sexual assaults “staggering”- even more so when considered that sexual assaults are statistically a “grossly underreported” crime.

The Detroit Rape Kit Project was born from the discovery of 11,341 unsubmitted sexual assault kits in a Detroit Police Department property storage facility in 2009. These kits were dated as far back as 1984 and had sat idle in storage. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy, whose office made the initial discovery, secured a grant from the National Institute of Justice to investigate the kits and aims to submit every single forgotten kit for DNA.

In early June 2024, the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office's apprehended Perry, now 55 years old, in Gwinnett, and obtained a DNA sample from the suspect to test against the DNA from Pamela Sumpter's rape kit. It was a match.

Kenneth Perry was indicted late last month for the rape and stabbing death of Pamela, and the stabbing and murder of her brother.

According to a Statement released by Office of the DeKalb County District Attorney, Perry was indicted on two counts of Malice Murder, two counts of Felony Murder, Rape, four counts of Aggravated Assault, two counts of Aggravated Battery, two counts of Possession of a Knife During the Commission of a Felony, and Theft by Taking.

Perry is currently being held without bond at the DeKalb County Jail. Media outlets report that Perry’s lawyer has requested a reasonable bond to be set for his client, claiming Perry "poses no significant threat."

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

In response to the arrest, DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston said in a conference about the case: “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.”

Following the arrest, Othram, the private lab who assisted in solved the cold case tweeted:

“Honored Othram could assist the DeKalb County District Attorney's Office in identifying the 1990 suspect in a double homicide and sexual assault. The suspect has been arrested and charged with multiple crimes. #dnasolves.”

Anyone with information pertaining to the Sumpter murders is asked to contact the District Attorney’s Cold Case Tip Line at: 404-371-2444.

Sources: [X][X][X][X]

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