Judge: NC man must be released after 17 years

NEWLAND, N. C. (AP) - A North Carolina man sentenced to life in prison in 1992 has been ordered released after a judge overturned his conviction for sexual offense.

The request to release Jonathan Scott Pierpoint came from Duke Law School's Wrongful Conviction Clinic. Clinic officials say Superior Court Judge Charles P. Ginn agreed Tuesday, ordering the conviction for first-degree sexual offense overturned and the charges dismissed.

Madison County District Attorney Jerry Wilson didn't oppose the motion.

Correction Department officials said Pierpoint was still being held Wednesday at the Avery-Mitchell Correctional Center.

Duke officials say a child was 8 years old when he accused Pierpoint, but he recanted his story about five years later.

Duke faculty and students at the clinic and at the law school's Innocence Project worked for two years to develop the case for Pierpoint's release.

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