After 29 years, jury finds man guilty of attempted capital murder

DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – It took approximately one hour for a jury to find a Dallas man guilty of a vicious sexual assault that happened 29 years ago. The court is now deciding what punishment Marion Sayles will receive.

"Refusing to die". Dallas County prosecutor Russell Wilson repeated that statement several times in the closing argument in the case of a woman shot, beaten and sexually assaulted 29 years ago.

Sayles was accused and quickly convicted of Attempted Capital Murder. Sayles, already in prison for a sex assault conviction, listened quietly while Wilson pointed at him directly, telling the jury, "The truth is overwhelming. We didn't forget Mary. Her journey ends today".

Mary Smith is the assigned name given to the woman who was raped and shot, after being abducted in November of 1983. The woman was joining friends for dinner at a McKinney Avenue restaurant, when two men grabbed her at gunpoint.

During testimony Wednesday, Smith told the story of her sexual assault and subsequent shooting. She escaped from the men, and a passerby found her crawling near a bridge along Overton Road and I-45.

In 1984 Larry Jackson and James Williams were arrested, tried and convicted for the sexual assault, but last year both men were exonerated. Preserved DNA evidence from the '83 crime did not match either man.

Sayles, along with Frederick Anderson, both in prison for previous crimes, were the matches to the DNA evidence. Sayles was the first of the two to stand trial. He did not take the stand.

While Mary Smith did not identify him as her attacker, co-prosecutor Brandon Birmingham told the jury the DNA is the verification for a verdict of guilty. "Who did it?" Birmingham asked, and then answered, "The DNA says Marion Sayles". The jury agreed.


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