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By Mandy Locke

Joseph Sledge must overcome a skeptical district attorney if his murder conviction in the deaths of two women more than 35 years ago is going to be overturned.

Christine Mumma, Sledge's lawyer and director of the NC Center on Actual Innocence, had hoped she and District Attorney Jon David could join forces and ask the courts to undo a double-murder conviction against Sledge for the deaths of Josephine and Ailene Davis, a mother and daughter who lived together in rural Bladen County in Eastern North Carolina.

But David, the district attorney in Bladen, Brunswick and Columbus counties, wants to litigate. In court filings last week, David said that he’s not convinced that new DNA evidence on long-misplaced hairs from the crime scene proves Sledge’s claim of innocence.

David also dismissed the validity of a jailhouse informant’s recent recantation.

"Public oversight and transparency are vital to ensure a fair process and just result," David said in a statement Monday. "I would caution members of the public to withhold judgment until all the facts are tested in an open courtroom."

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