North Carolina man freed as prosecutors decline retrial

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man who spent 24 years in prison has been freed because prosecutors say they won’t pursue a new trial against him.

News outlets report a judge ordered a new trial Thursday for 44-year-old Dontae Sharpe, who was serving a murder sentence for a 1994 shooting death in Greenville. Prosecutors then said that they wouldn’t pursue a retrial.

The judge’s decision came after an evidentiary hearing in Pitt County court for Sharpe, who was convicted of killing 33-year-old George Radcliffe during a drug buy.

At Thursday’s hearing, a key witness testified that she lied at Sharpe’s trial in saying she saw Sharpe kill Radcliffe. She later recanted.

The NAACP has advocated for Sharpe throughout. Supporters say he refused an earlier plea deal, insisting on his innocence.

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