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Idaho Innocence Project research helps lead to arrest in 1982 murder

On Monday, May 4, Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue announced that the county has charged David Dalrymple in the 1982 murder of Daralyn Johnson, a 9-year-old girl.

Johnson disappeared while walking to school in Nampa. Her body later was found near the Snake River. Dalrymple is currently serving a sentence of 20 years to life at the Idaho State Correctional Institution for a crime he committed in 2004.

Greg Hampikian, co-director of the Idaho Innocence Project, said that Canyon County authorities used a mitochondrial DNA strategy mapped out in his laboratory at Boise State to eliminate suspects. In 2017, the Hampikian lab devised a forensic genealogy strategy and recommended a California lab to carry out the work that ultimately identified Dalrymple.

The Idaho Innocence Project also has advocated for Charles Fain, the 73-year-old Vietnam veteran who spent 18 years on death row, wrongly convicted of Johnson’s murder. Freed by DNA evidence in 2001, Fain’s only compensation was a pair of dungarees and a bus ticket. He was not eligible for transition services offered other convicts upon release.

Hampikian with attorney and wrongfully convicted men.
From left: Rick Visser, an Idaho Innocence Project lawyer, Charles Fain, Greg Hampikian and Christopher Tapp, another man wrongfully convicted of a crime in Idaho. Photo credit: Idaho Innocence Project

This year, the Idaho Innocence Project backed a bill to compensate victims of wrongful conviction. The bill passed both houses, but was vetoed by Gov. Brad Little.

Fain recently told a reporter from KIVI 6 On Your Side about his time on death row and about being, at one point, 24 hours from execution.

“It can either overwhelm ya, and turn you into a bitter, more negative [person] than you’ve ever been in your life,” said Fain. “Or more positive. The choice is yours. It’s up to you.”

Rep. Ricks has said he will continue to lead the fight for wrongful conviction compensation in Idaho. Hampikian said that the Idaho Innocence Project will advocate for the cause in the next legislative session.