Man convicted for murder he says he didn't commit may be freed

DA seeks to withdraw charges after man served 11 years

Cherri Gregg
May 15, 2018 - 10:30 pm
Dontia Patterson (left with cup) is greeted by brother Benjamin, and their mother, Jacqueline

Steve Tawa | KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Dontia Patterson was just 17 years old when he was charged with shooting his friend Antwine Jackson in 2007. 

He's since spent 11 years behind bars for the crime — which he says he did not commit.

On Wednesday, now 31-year-old Patterson could finally walk free after prosecutors filed a motion to withdraw all charges.

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office said the man is "probably innocent."

With questionable evidence against him at the time, it took two trials to get a conviction. Much of the conviction relied on testimony from an officer. It was later discovered that police hid evidence of the actual shooter. 

After more than a decade, Patterson — who is out on bail, living on house arrest — could soon be free.

"He didn't have anything to do with this murder, and he probably never should have been prosecuted and definitely not convicted," said Marissa Bluestine, executive director of the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, which represented Patterson alongside law firm Cozen O'Connor. 

She said the DA's motion calls for all charges to be dropped, citing police misconduct.

"In fact, they say in the filing that he's an innocent man," she added. 

Patterson will appear before a judge Wednesday.