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Parrish Slade

Other North Carolina Exonerations
On May 19, 1988, Moore County, North Carolina Sheriff’s detective Timothy Monroe arrested 21-year-old Parrish Slade on a charge of sexually assaulting his girlfriend’s 11-year-old son.

Slade was indicted in August 1988 for first-degree sexual assault. The indictment said the rape had occurred on May 13, 1988.

Slade went to trial in Moore County Superior Court on May 1, 1989. The boy testified that he was living with his mother, sisters, brothers and Slade in his mother’s trailer in Zion’s Grove, North Carolina.

He said he got home from school around 3 p.m. and was in his room when Slade came in and raped him, causing extensive bleeding. The boy said Slade threatened him and warned not to tell anyone, and that he didn’t tell his mother because she wouldn’t have believed him anyway.

The boy went to a foster home the next day and a few days later he went to live at his grandmother’s house. He told her he had been raped and she called the police. The boy testified that he was interviewed by Moore County Sheriff’s Detective Monroe and that he told Monroe that he bled for “about a couple of days.” The boy also testified that he was not examined by a physician after reporting the assault.

The boy’s grandmother testified that he told her of the assault on May 16, 1988. She said she cared for the boy until February 1989 when she took him back to his mother because she could not handle him. She said he ran the streets and regularly lied to her.

Detective Monroe testified about the boy’s statement to him that he had been raped by Slade. Monroe said he did not take the boy to a doctor and that the boy was never examined by a physician.

Slade testified in his own defense and denied raping or assaulting the boy. “I have never sexually assaulted (the boy) or nobody else and have never thought about doing it to anybody,” Slade told the jury.

The boy’s mother testified on behalf of Slade that the boy was living with his grandmother during the month of May 1988. She testified that the boy “tells lies and he has stood in my face and told lies several times.” She admitted that the boy and his siblings had been removed from her care by the state Department of Social Services on several occasions after she was arrested for shoplifting, forgery and theft.

On May 2, 1989, the jury convicted Slade of first-degree sexual assault. He was sentenced to life in prison.

In 2008, after his appeals were denied, Slade filed a motion seeking a new trial. Following an investigation, a document was located in the state Department of Corrections that stated that Detective Monroe had informed corrections officials that there had been a physical examination of the boy soon after he said he had been raped. The examination, performed on May 20, 1988, found “no evidence of rectal injury.”

The investigation also turned up an investigative report authored by Detective Monroe in which the boy’s grandmother and the boy both said she had been caring for him since May 8, 1988—five days before the date on which boy said he was raped in his mother’s trailer. The report had not been turned over to Slade’s defense attorney by the prosecution, and the defense attorney had failed to request such reports at the conclusion of the boy’s and the grandmother’s direct testimony when they became available under discovery rules then in effect. As a result there was no cross-examination about the inconsistent statements of the boy and the grandmother.

In June 2011, Moore County Superior Court Judge John O. Craig III vacated Slade’s conviction and ordered a new trial. The judge ruled that the prosecution had improperly failed to disclose the documents that showed that there were no injuries to the boy and that the boy and his grandmother had given conflicting accounts of when the assault occurred.

Judge Craig also ruled that Slade’s defense attorney had provided an inadequate legal defense by failing to obtain any of the social services files on the boy. Among other things, these files would have shown that he was with his grandmother on May 13, 1988, when the alleged assault was said to have occurred.

The judge said that the records of the social service agency also included a report based on interviews with the boy, his grandmother and the boy’s mother. The report said that the boy’s claim was “unsubstantiated.” This report was not disclosed to Slade’s attorney or the prosecution prior to Slade’s trial because it was the policy at the time not to disclose information about unsubstantiated investigations without a court order. The records also showed a school psychological examination of the boy in 1988 which said he had an IQ of 59 and the mental age of a 6-year-old.

Slade was released on bond in June 2011. On December 21, 2012, Superior Court Judge Anderson D. Cromer dismissed the charge.

Slade filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Moore County Sheriff’s Department and the Department of Social Services. The lawsuit was settled in January 2015 for $750,000. He was not eligible for state compensation because he did not receive a gubernatorial pardon.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 9/14/2015
State:North Carolina
County:Moore
Most Serious Crime:Child Sex Abuse
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1988
Convicted:1989
Exonerated:2012
Sentence:Life
Race:Black
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:21
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct, Inadequate Legal Defense
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No