Celebration held for Dontae Sharpe

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Friends and supporters of North Carolina man freed after spending more than half his life in prison for a murder he didn’t commit are holding a celebration.

Friends of Dontae Sharpe are gathering Friday afternoon at Philippi Church of Christ in Greenville. Various advocacy groups are holding the event for the 44-year-old Sharpe, who was freed Thursday.

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 in Pitt County court. Prosecutors then said they wouldn’t pursue a retrial, and Sharpe was released.

The NAACP advocated for the release Sharpe, who says he rejected lighter sentences that required him to admit guilt.

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