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WHITEVILLE, NC (WRAL.COM) — Attorneys with the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence say a man lied when he offered incriminating testimony at Joseph Sledge's 1978 murder trial, according to a motion filed Tuesday in Columbus County.

Sledge, 68, who has spent the last 34 years in prison for the murders of two women in Bladen County, has always maintained his innocence. 

Now, the Durham-based innocence group is working to free him. Director Christine Mumma, Sledge's attorney, asked the judge to overturn his conviction, release him and dismiss all charges related to the deaths of Josephine and Ailene Davis 


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  • Guest5050

    According to them, everyone in prison is innocent. They pick apart a case looking for anything that they could use to get a re-trial and when after many decades later the case can’t be re-tried due to no existing evidence or witnesses either dead or refuse to go through the agony again after so many years, the so-called “Innocense Project” declares, OMG, this man was innocent all this time. Set him free and give him a check. It’s BS.

  • GuestO’Day

    Many “Innocence Project” cases have been re-opened and tried again because of DNA evidence, scientific evidence that couldn’t have been considered at the original time of trial. Other cases have been re-opened because of incompetent or substandard defense and even cases of police or prosecutor misconduct.

    It is not the “Innocense (sic) Project” that overturns convictions and sets wrongfully convicted inmates free, it is the courts and competent judges who do that.

  • Wilmington Observer

    The Innocence Commission has received 1,245 cases since it was created. The general public never hears about most of these cases. Why is this? Because, they, frequently spend thousands of dollars (often provided by the families of “claimants”) in lab fees to retest forensic evidence. They also; reinterview witnesses, investigate alternative theories of cases, research the possibilities of prosecutorial misconduct and critically analyze reports from police officers, criminal investigators, prosecutors, crime scene technicians and forensic laboratories. Frequently, after an exhaustive analysis of the merits of a case they conclude that there is insufficient evidence of factual innocence for judicial review.

    An interesting side note: The Innocence Commission’s investigations have, actually, uncovered evidence that would have strengthened a prosecutor’s case had it been available during trial.

    Another interesting side note: Out of the 1,245 cases that the Innocence Commission has received, “Only four claimants have been exonerated through three Commission proceedings.”

    I don’t know about you, but these facts make me feel pretty confident in our judicial system.

    Wilmington Observer


    witness and a sorry cop had a man in jail for 23 years that was innocent. I guess if you had been in his shoes you would have stayed there. The lying witness and cop both should go to jail for this. There are alot of innocent people in jail that were put there by lowlife cops trying to build a name for themselves. Guess you think that is OK ????

  • GuestO’Day

    So, four “claimants” as you call them have been exonerated…. this is good. Four less for you and Goolsby to stick needles into their arms and end their lives.

  • PublicAvenger

    Just like the Wilmington 10. The DA (Now Dead) puts a tick mark, next to a black juror-candidate’s name, 40 years ago. Therefore, he must have been a racist, therefore they are innocent. What a joke.

  • Guest 2012

    Interesting story but not fully told.

    Reporters should at the very least, report the following in every story in a short but concise story: who, what, when, where, why, and how. Who was the cop in charge of the case who is alleged to have done a corrupt investigation? I think we know why: to close the case and impress his supervisor. What? What was told that was wrong? When is known. How? How may be known after the untrue statements are known.

    This story can be rewritten in almost as short as it is now with all the above rules of reporting followed. Who, what, when, where, why, and how. No reporter should get a story by the editor unless all the story is given to the readers. Brevity is a virtue and can be employed easily to include all the info to give us the full story.

  • PublicAvenger

    After 35 years, several pieces, of the hundreds of bits of data, are bound to change. The outstanding officer, whose testimony convicted him. May have started drinking,25 years later, and lied during his divorce.

    Does that mean, all his testimony is invalid, and the guy is innocent ? The same flimsy argument can be made for every 35 year old rape or murder case.


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