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DNA testing links Georgia brothers to unsolved rape cases from the 1980s

DNA evidence has linked two brothers to multiple unsolved rape cases around metro Atlanta in the 1980s, the DeKalb County District Attorney announced this week.

Jeffrey Briney, 59, and David Briney, 62, have been indicted on a slew of charges ranging from rape, kidnapping, aggravated sodomy, armed robbery and aggravated assault, according to indictment documents. Jeffrey was indicted on 30 charges and David on 19, documents show.

Jeffrey Briney was taken into custody on February 27 by deputies of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Unit, and David Briney was arrested by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Unit the same day, according to a news release from DeKalb County District Attorney, Sherry Boston. Both brothers are currently in jail without bond.

An attorney for Jeffrey Briney declined to comment, however, “attorneys and investigators are reviewing the indictment and preparing a thorough, effective defense,” a spokesperson for the Georgia Public Defender Council told CNN.

The Fulton County Public Defender’s Office, which is representing David Briney, is “preparing a zealous, effective defense for the charges he is facing. We are continuing our investigation and will tirelessly advocate for Mr. Briney in court,” a spokesperson told CNN in a statement.

Jeffrey Briney, left, and David Briney. - DeKalb County District Attorney's Office
Jeffrey Briney, left, and David Briney. - DeKalb County District Attorney's Office

On March 28, 1986, four men forced their way into an apartment on Briarwood Road in what is now the City of Brookhaven, held five students at gunpoint, and raped two young women before ransacking the apartment, according to the release.

Nearly seven months later, on October 27, two men with a gun forced their way into an apartment on Buford Highway in Atlanta, raped two women and left with their valuables, according to the release.

Both cases went cold – until June 2023.

Several decades later, rape kits are tested

In 2023, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation sent about 2,500 rape kits to private labs for processing, according to the release.

Seventy-four of those kits were from DeKalb County cases.

In June 2023, DNA collected from one of the Briarwood Road rape victims came back with a match to Jeffrey Briney, the DA said. The DNA also linked Jeffrey Briney to the attack on Buford Highway.

In August 2023, DNA collected from the other Briarwood Road rape victim matched David Briney, and also connected him to seven other cases, including one in Cobb County and six in Fulton County, the release said.

Before 1998, investigators could only test DNA evidence if a suspect’s sample was available for comparison.

Nowadays, investigators can also enter DNA from a crime scene into the FBI’s national database, also known as CODIS, to see if there’s a match, and that’s how the Briney brothers were identified.

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