Supporters of NC man freed from prison demand Cooper pardon

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FILE - Dontae Sharpe enters a Pitt County courtroom to the cheers of his family after a judge determined he could be set free on a $100,000 unsecured bond on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019 in Greenville, N.C. Dozens of people supporting Sharpe, a who served 25 years behind bars for a murder he said he didn't commit, gathered Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, outside the Executive Mansion calling on the governor to formally pardon him now. (Deborah Griffin/The Daily Reflector via AP, File)

FILE – Dontae Sharpe enters a Pitt County courtroom to the cheers of his family after a judge determined he could be set free on a $100,000 unsecured bond on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019 in Greenville, N.C. Dozens of people supporting Sharpe, a who served 25 years behind bars for a murder he said he didn’t commit, gathered Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, outside the Executive Mansion calling on the governor to formally pardon him now. (Deborah Griffin/The Daily Reflector via AP, File)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Dozens of people have gathered to urge the governor to pardon a North Carolina man who served more than two decades behind bars for a murder he said he didn’t commit.

Dontae Sharpe and his allies held a vigil Friday in front of Gov. Roy Cooper’s state residence.

Sharpe was released from prison in 2019 when a judge ordered a new trial for him and the prosecutor wouldn’t pursue a retrial.

He filed a pardon application.

A pardon of innocence means Sharpe would receive monetary compensation.

A Cooper spokesperson said a decision would occur by the end of the year.

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