Philadelphia man cleared of murder after 11 years in jail

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Philadelphia man cleared of murder after 11 years in jail. Gray Hall reports during Action News at 4:30pm. (WPVI)

Dontia Patterson and his family have been waiting on this moment for 11 years. Today, a judge dropped all charges against him and overturned his murder conviction. The crime happened in 2007 outside of a corner store, on the 800 block of Granite Street in the City's Oxford Circle section. After reviewing his case, the District Attorney's office says they don't believe Patterson shot and killed the victim and asked a judge to free him....she agreed.

"They say you are innocent until proven guilty...it is the other way around...you are guilty until you are proven innocent...that is what it is," Patterson told Action News.

"I was just happy she granted the motion...I was just happy but like I was saying I ain't the only one in this situation...it's a whole lot of people in my situation," he says.

District Attorney, Larry Krasner's office says all those years ago, Patterson's case was not investigated or prosecuted properly. They accuse their predecessors of misconduct, hiding key information that led to a different suspect - and all around, mishandling Patterson's case.

Krasner promises to repair what he calls the city's broken criminal justice system. He created a new policy expunging records of people wrongly accused and for most individuals - who have been charged with a crime - but not convicted. Patterson's supporters says the outcome of his case may provide hope to others in similar situations.

"We have hundreds in our office waiting for review and investigation. There are well over one thousand in Pennsylvania prisons who are innocent right now....so for Dantia we bring home, there is a lot more work to do," says Nilam Sanghvi with the Pennsylvania Innocence Project.

While many are calling his release as a victory, former Prosecutor, Richard Sax who tried the case that led to Patterson's conviction, says his release is a slap in the face to the justice system and the victim who lost his life. "I am beyond disappointed. I am apoplectically sad about this....I am sad for Antwine Jackson....justice was served for 11 years but no longer," says Richard Sax a former Prosecutor.

Patterson says he will now focus on finding a job and taking care of his daughter.
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philadelphia newsmurdercold caseCenter City Philadelphia
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