Elation greeted Dontae Sharpe as he walked out of prison a free man, 26 years after being wrongly convicted of murder.
But proving his innocence was only the first step down a long road. As he tried to rebuild his life – and to hold the system accountable – there was still one thing eluding him.
Update: On 12 November, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper granted Dontae a full pardon.
This film was created by Chelsea Bailey, Hannah Long-Higgins and Shrai Popat
Additional filming by Eric Preston, Fusion Films and Spencer Zachary. Graphics and animation by Sarah Scott
Dontae Sharpe is currently a RISE Fellow with Forward Justice, where he advocates for criminal justice reform in North Carolina.