After 37 Years in Prison, Innocent North Carolina Man Freed

NBC News

For the first time in nearly 40 years, Joseph Sledge woke up behind bars with a chance of becoming a free man. The 70-year-old needed one more win at an innocence hearing.

Three judges listened to closing statements Friday about how Sledge was wrongfully convicted in the 1976 stabbing deaths of a mother and her adult daughter. A few hours later, carrying his belongings in plastic bags, Sledge emerged from a North Carolina jail, saying he was looking forward to what most people consider the most mundane of activities: “Going home. Relaxing. Sleeping in a real bed. Probably get in a pool of water and swim for a little while.”

Image: Joseph Sledge was freed from prison Friday, after a panel of judges found that he was wrongly convicted

Ethan Hyman / The News & Observer via AP

Christine Mumma, director of the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence, left, and Cheryl Sullivan, staff attorney, hug Joseph Sledge after a special session of superior court in Whiteville, N.C., in which the wrongly-convicted man was freed after nearly 40 years behind bars.

A special three-judge panel unanimously voted Sledge had proven he was innocent of the killings and ordered his release. But his freedom almost didn’t happen because evidence had been lost for years. His attorney, Christine Mumma, took the case in 2004 and considered closing the case in 2012. Then court clerks discovered a misplaced envelope of evidence while cleaning out a high shelf of a vault. The envelope contained hair, found on the victim and believed to be the attacker’s. Meghan Clement of Cellmark Forensics said none of the evidence collected from the scene — hair, DNA and fingerprints — belonged to Sledge.

Continue reading

avatar
After years of research and a series of unpleasant experiences concerning the current child protection services system, Alec Cope decided to combat the cancerous corruption through information. Freelance writing articles as a form of protest and distributing them throughout his former high-school and local area, Alec struck special chords with whomever he was in contact with.

Alec has been involved in activism such as sit down protests as well as Idle No More gatherings. Being independent for the majority of his time, Alec became a member of the WeAreChange family to assist one of the organizations that inspired him to become active in the first place. With a larger platform and positive support Alec has committed the majority of his time to research, writing, and maintaining social media with the goal to continue expanding the awakening sweeping throughout all levels of society.

Growing up within a rural area in Northern Michigan as well as being a native American descendant, Alec is seeking to expose environmental abuse in his state as well as globally. A high-school dropout, Alec chases his passion for writing and empowering individuals while showing any isolated person that they too can overcome the odds with a community that will support them. Alec lives in the lower peninsula of Michigan near Kalamazoo.

http://www.facebook.com/alec.cope.75

alecope8@gmail.com

https://www.twitter.com/AlecCope

http://www.pinterest.com/aleccope75/

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
logo1

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!