Charlotte NC Criminal Law: Wrongfully imprisoned man released after 12 years

05/25/2010 // West Palm Beach, Florida, USA // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan

Charlotte, NC—A man was released from prison on May 6, 2010, twelve years after he was convicted of a crime he never commited. The wrongfully incarcerated Charlotte man was released through the Innocence Project, a program that he applied to four years ago, as reported by

The case stems from a 1997 attack, in which a woman was attacked and robbed in her own home. Reports indicate as the victim walked to her door, groceries in hand, with her two children at her side, the nameless culprit attacked her. The man allegedly pushed her into her home, attempted to rape her, robbed her apartment and then fled the scene.

For unknown reasons, 37-year-old Shawn Massey became a suspect in the criminal case. However, the victim in the case uttered her doubts that Massey was indeed her attacker. The unidentified woman claimed the perpetrator had cornrow braids and was heavier than Massey.

Nonetheless, prosecutors withheld the plaintiff’s assertions. Massey was subsequently convicted of the “kidnapping and armed robbery” in 1998 and sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Four years ago, Massey applied to a program known as the Innocence Project. Duke University law students were assigned Massey’s case. Upon investigating case files, the students discovered the major omissions that could have upheld Massey’s innocence.

District Attorney Peter Gilchrist also apparently confessed that his office was responsible for withholding such information, which inevitably “botched the case.”

In connection with Massey’s redemption, the former prisoner stated, “I thank God for being free… I’m thankful to the Duke Innocence Project for helping free me, and I thank God for my grandmother and family believing me.”

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan- Legal News for North Carolina Criminal Lawyers.

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