Brothers Henry McCollum, 51, and Leon Brown, 47, Finally Compensated by North Carolina for Three Decades of Wrongful Imprisonment

Henry McCollum sits stunned as applause rings out in a Robeson County courtroom in Lumberton, N.C. Tuesday, September 2, 2014, after a judge has declared McCollum and his brother Leon Brown innocent of a brutal rape murder for which they have spent 30 years in prison. Behind him is Beverly Lake, Jr., founder of the Innocence Commission, who was vital in the process to free the men. Photo: Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images

Two brothers who were wrongfully imprisoned for three decades for a crime they didn’t commit just received $750,000 in compensation from the state of North Carolina—the highest-possible payout in such an instance.

Henry McCollum, 51, was present for the ceremony in which he and his half-brother Leon Brown, 47, were each awarded the maximum payout approved by state officials. Brown, however, remains in a hospital, where he’s undergoing treatment for mental health issues stemming from their imprisonment. The brothers were officially pardoned in June, which made them eligible for financial restitution.

They were released from prison a year ago after fresh DNA evidence emerged and exonerated them.  The testing was performed by the state’s Innocence Inquiry Commission, whose purpose is to investigate disputed cases.

According to their attorneys, the brothers “were scared teenagers with low IQs” who investigators manipulated and berated, feeding them details before they signed false confessions for the rape and murder of 11-year-old Sabrina Buie in 1983. McCollum was the longest-serving inmate on the state’s death row, while Brown was convicted to life in prison. Both were attacked while serving their sentences, and Brown was repeatedly sexually assaulted by other prisoners.

The money will go into funds that will help the men and their families financially—something that has been difficult ever since the brothers’ release and subsequent difficulty readjusting to life on the outside.

article by Sameer Rao via

8 thoughts on “Brothers Henry McCollum, 51, and Leon Brown, 47, Finally Compensated by North Carolina for Three Decades of Wrongful Imprisonment”

    1. nope. not enough. we actually can’t even think what amount would be. but the state having to own up to the maximum it was allowed to give – at least the guilt of that crime has been admitted

  1. I have to admit that money enough? They were teens victims of rape while in prison who knows what else? They deserve anyone under these circumstance should get so much more. I pray they get/have help from honest compassionate people that will allow them a life of Respite from those awful people in prison, racist controllers… but a life with peace, a good life and someone to talk if needed ~ Tell them to SAVE SAVE live on only what you need and do not give it up to anyone

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