Loading...
BYH, have the courage to be disliked....

Hearing is man's fourth try at freedom

073116sharpe
1 of 2

Dontae Sharpe

063018DontaeSharpePic3.JPG
Loading…

By Tyler Stocks
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A hearing set for Friday will consider new evidence that could free a Greenville man convicted of murder in 1994.

A Superior Court judge from Wake County will hear the motion of appropriate relief filed on behalf of Montoyae Dontae Sharpe, 44, who was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder in the 1994 shooting death of George Radcliffe. Radcliffe was shot in west Greenville possibly while seeking to buy drugs, authorities said at the time.

Sharpe has maintained his innocence since his arrest and conviction in 1995. He declined offers for lighter sentencing in exchange for a guilty plead and has declined release from prison that would require him to admit guilt, according to previous statements from him and supporters.

This is the fourth motion for relief filed on his behalf. Sharpe and his attorney, Theresa Newman, a Duke University law professor who specializes in wrongful convictions, plan to introduce new evidence in the case, according to Pitt County Assistant District Attorney Valerie Pearce.

“The defendant filed his fourth motion for appropriate relief last year,” Pearce said. “And they make allegations in the MAR that is the defense’s burden to prove at the hearing. They’re going to present one witness on Friday to try and support their allegations.”

Sharpe’s case has garnered national attention through the sustained advocacy of his mother, Sarah Blakeley of Greenville, state and local NAACP chapters and the student-led innocence project at Duke. It also was the focus of the televised documentary series, Final Appeal.

His lawyer, Newman, serves as co-director of the Wrongful Convictions Clinic, is associate director of the Duke Law School Center for Criminal Justice and Professional Responsibility and a faculty adviser to the Innocence Project.

The hearing is set to begin at 10 a.m. at the Pitt County Courthouse. Friends and family have been rallying community members to show up at the courthouse en masse.

“After a quarter of a century fighting for justice, an innocent man will finally have his case heard in a court of law,” Pitt County NAACP President Calvin Henderson said.  “What we are doing in Pitt County is asking the Greenville community and the people of good will from across the state to join us ... to stand in solidarity with Dontae Sharpe and his family, friends and supporters for what we’re praying will surely be an historic moment for the Sharpe family.”  

Henderson said the day is long overdue.  

“It’s time for Dontae to come home to his mother, to his family and to the community,” he said. “We are fighting not only for Dontae but we believe we can prevent wrongful conviction in Pitt County.”

Pearce said people convicted of crimes may file motions for appropriate relief that cite new evidence or claim that a mistake was made in court.

She said there are three possible outcomes from Friday’s hearing: the judge could order a new trial; the case could be dismissed and Sharpe’s conviction overturned; or the judge could dismiss Sharpe’s motion, as has happened previously.

The case has been assigned to Superior Court Judge Bryan Collins of Wake County.

If a new trial is ordered, Pearce said the state would first have to determine if enough evidence remains after 25 years to retry Sharpe. 

She said a new trial would undo the work of jurors, witnesses and create complexities for both the prosecution and defense.  

“It’s a pretty tall order to go back and undo that,” Pearce said. “It has to be pretty strong evidence to go back and undo the evidence that was heard at the original trial.”

Radcliffe was shot and killed about 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 11, 1994, in the area of Sheppard and Sixth streets. Sharpe, a known drug dealer in the area, was arrested and jailed a short time later and convicted on July 27, 1995, when he was 20.

Charlene Johnson, 15 at the time, told police she saw Sharpe shoot Radcliffe and together with a co-defendant lift him into the truck. Johnson recanted her testimony two years later.

On the day of Radcliffe’s murder, Sharpe said he and a friend went to a home in Grimesland and visited with some other friends. Later he returned to his aunt’s house in Greenville. It was there he learned someone had been killed, he said.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Crime and Rescue

October 13, 2019

Two people were seriously injured after a drunk driver T-boned their vehicle, according to Pitt County court records and a Greenville Police Department crash report.

According to the report, the crash took place about 8 p.m. on Oct. 5 near the Camelot Inn on South Memorial Drive.

The report…

101319Steverson.jpg

October 12, 2019

East Carolina University police arrested a man on campus Saturday night after an alleged assault near Fletcher Residence Hall, according to an ECU Alert.

Police received a report that a woman was walking on campus near Fletcher about 8:30 a.m. when she was grabbed on the arm and back from behind by…

October 11, 2019

Greenville police arrested a 15-year-old at J.H. Rose High School student on Friday after receiving information he brought a gun to school, officials reported.

School administrators and resource officers assigned to Rose received information and immediately identified and located the student, a…

October 11, 2019

Deputies arrested and charged a former social worker employed at the Veteran's Administration clinic in Greenville for time clock fraud and for transporting drugs in a government vehicle, the Pitt County Sheriff's Office reported on Thursday.

Over the course of a four month investigation, special…

101019Averell.jpg

October 11, 2019

An ongoing investigation into monetary thefts from a water utility have resulted in more embezzlement charges against a Greenville woman.

Bell Arthur Water Corporation contacted the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office in August to report the financial misappropriation. During the initial…

joyner

October 11, 2019

A Greenville man released in July after serving 15 years in prison for a 2003 murder was arrested on Tuesday evening for assault, drug and weapon charges, according to police and court records.

Greenville Police Department officers arrested Donnie Devon Adams Jr., 35, of 1309 W. Third St. for a…

101019Adams.jpg

October 10, 2019

A 26-year-old man charged with killing a woman in a 2016 drive-by shooting pled guilty to second degree murder on Wednesday morning in Pitt County Superior Court.

The plea took place during the third day of the murder trial of Kenquonis Niqua McKenzie, who was accused of shooting Karen Speight on…

101019McKenzie.jpg

October 09, 2019

A Sunday afternoon shooting at a local convenience store sent a man to the hospital, the Greenville Police Department reported Monday.

At approximately 12:30 p.m. Greenville police were called to the area of Pitt Street Mini Mart for the report of a shooting.

They discovered 31-year-old Thomas Lee…

October 09, 2019

Terrisha Speight and her 58-year-old mother were watching TV together On the afternoon of Dec. 30, 2016, when the unthinkable happened.

Shortly after 3 p.m., Speight's mother, Karen, stood up, then quickly dropped to the living room floor of her apartment.

Karen Speight had been shot. She later…

100919Murdertrial.jpg

October 08, 2019

A man in blue jeans, a blue hoodie, and a camouflage ball cap robbed a Greenville bank shortly before 4 p.m. on Tuesday, the Greenville Police Department reported.

The robbery took place at Wells Fargo, 1701 S.E. Greenville Blvd. According to a news release, the man implied he had a weapon and made…

Bank robber 1.jpg
107 stories in Crime and Rescue. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 11
        Next Page»   Last Page»