WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A man who’s murder conviction was reversed by the North Carolina Court of Appeals has once again pleaded not guilty.
This time his trial will be held out of New Hanover County. In court the defense argued Andre Sharpless, 25, would not have a fair trial due to the amount of publicity surrounding the case.
In 2011 Sharpless was sentenced to life without parole for the 2009 murder of Tarell Phillips. The court of appeals, though, granted him a new trial.
Sharpless turned down a plea deal Tuesday. He is being retried on charges of murder, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, burglary, and two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon.
Investigators say he was behind a plot to rob Phillips. Sharpless says he was just buying pot from the victim when he was shot and killed by two masked men. Sharpless and a woman were shot during the attack.
Sharpless’s family was in the courtroom today and argued he is innocent.
The judge allowed the case to be moved to Onslow County. Sharpless’s next court date is tentatively set for March 17.