Gov. Cooper grants pardon to NC man who spent 26 years in prison for murder he did not commit


Montoyae Dontae Sharpe in a file photo

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper granted a pardon of innocence Friday for a North Carolina man who spent more than two dozen years in prison for a murder he did not commit.

A Greenville judge exonerated Montoyae Dontae Sharpe in 2019. He’s had been fighting to get a pardon ever since.

“I have carefully reviewed Montoyae Dontae Sharpe’s case and am granting him a Pardon of Innocence,” Cooper said in a Friday afternoon news release. “Mr. Sharpe and others who have been wrongly convicted deserve to have that injustice fully and publicly acknowledged.”

The pardon came after Sharpe’s application was thoroughly reviewed by the Office of Executive Clemency, the Office of the General Counsel and the Governor, the news release said.

“It’s not just about me,” Sharpe said at a rally in September. “It’s six other guys that are waiting on pardons, too.”

Sharpe, who spent 26 years in prison, is eligible to file a claim under North Carolina law, that allows compensation to persons wrongly convicted of felonies.

Since taking office in 2017, Cooper has pardoned seven people.

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