Friends, supporters to celebrate Dontae Sharpe's freedom

GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) - Friends and supporters of a man who was freed from jail after spending 25 years in prison are holding a celebration.

Friends of Dontae Sharpe and various advocacy groups are gathering at Philippi Church of Christ in Greenville Friday from 4 p.m.- 7 p.m.

Sharpe was serving a life sentence for the 1994 murder of 33-year-old George Radcliffe during a drug deal in Greenville. A judge ordered a new trial after an evidentiary hearing Thursday, but prosecutors said they wouldn't pursue a retrial.

The District Attorney's Office says with no eyewitness testimony or forensic evidence, it would be impossible for them to prove the case against Sharpe.

Sharpe, who has always maintained his innocence, was released.



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Prosecutors say they will not pursue a retrial after a judge granted Dontae Sharpe a new murder trial this afternoon.

Sharpe has been serving a life sentence and has spent 25 years in prison.

About 30 minutes after the ruling and subsequent announcement, Sharpe was freed. He immediately hugged family members.

Today concluded a long journey for Sharpe and his supporters. The man said he never killed George Radcliffe in 1994 and even turned down multiple plea deals from prosecutors.

In May, a state medical examiner testified that the state's theory on how Radcliffe was killed was medically and scientifically impossible.

Today, the chief witness in the 1995 trial said she never saw Sharpe kill Radcliffe.

The District Attorney's Office says with no eyewitness testimony or forensic evidence, it would be impossible for them to prove the case against Sharpe.

After granting a new trial and then hearing prosecutors say they would not retry the man, the judge ordered Sharpe to be freed.


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A judge today granted Dontae Sharpe a new murder trial after the state's key witness said she made up the story.

Sharpe has always maintained his innocence in the killing of George Radcliffe in Greenville back in 1994.

This morning, the state's key witness at the first trial testified that she lied during the original trial because a detective told her if she didn't testify her mom would go to jail for perjury.

The woman said today she never saw Sharpe shoot Radcliffe and she now wants the truth to be heard.


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A key witness in a 1995 Greenville murder trial says she lied on the witness stand after threats from a detective.

The second evidentiary hearing for Dontae Sharpe got underway around 10:00 a.m. at the Pitt County Courthouse. Supporters hope this hearing will lead to a new trial in the case.

Sharpe is serving a life sentence for a murder that he says he didn't commit. He was convicted for the 1994 murder of George Radcliffe.

The man has maintained his innocence, and even rejected several deals offered by prosecutors.

Two months after the original trial, Charlene Johnson Frazier recanted her story, saying she only came upon the murder after it happened. After a 1997 hearing, a judge ruled that Johnson more likely was originally telling the truth, and that she made up the recantation.

On the stand this morning, Frazier testified that her statement to police back in April 1994 was made up from what she was told by detectives and saw on TV.

Frazier, who was 14 at the time, said she lied during the original trial because a detective told her if she didn't testify her mom would go to jail for perjury.

The woman said today she never saw Sharpe shoot Radcliffe and she now wants the truth to be heard.

Sharpe is in the courtroom, sitting at the defense table in handcuffs.