Life Unbarred

Life Unbarred

After serving nearly half his life in jail for a rape he did not commit, Dwayne Dail describes his 18-year imprisonment and, thanks to new DNA evidence, recent release.

In a series of 10 Raleigh News Observer videos, Dwayne Dail tells his story after serving 18 years for a crime he did not commit. The dogged pursuit of DNA evidence by the non-profit North Carolina Center for Actual Innocence breaks the case open. Links to additional material connect viewers to photos, correspondence, audio of his letters, and a newspaper story about his release. Listening to Dail describe his imprisonment—he says he survived because “I was expected to survive”—takes viewers deeply inside the mindset of an innocent person accused of a horrible rape. Video of the actual trial and verdict allow the viewer to see his genuine moment of relief after 18 years of false imprisonment — and the aftermath, with the mother noting that her son continues to act like the 19-year-old he was when first jailed. The audio & video multimedia package is divided into three parts: Prison, Exoneration and New Life.


Video & photography: Shawn Rocco

Additional video: Travis Long

Interviews: Mandy Locke

Editing: Travis Long & Shawn Rocco

Additional editing: Rob Roberts


Photography: Shawn Rocco

Photo editing: Scott Sharpe


Audio gathering: Mandy Locke

Editing: Karen Mann


Production & programming: Rob Roberts

Design: Tim Lee

Content producer: Karen Mann