NC Half Brothers Wrongly Sentenced to Death Sentenced to $ 75 Million in Damages


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A jury in a federal civil rights case in North Carolina awarded $ 75 million to two black, intellectually disabled half-brothers who have spent decades behind bars after being wrongly convicted of rape and murder of ‘an 11 year old girl in 1983.

The eight-person jury ruled on Friday that Henry McCollum and Leon Brown should receive $ 31 million each in compensatory damages, $ 1 million for every year spent in prison, The News & Observer reported. The jury also awarded them $ 13 million in punitive damages.

“The first jury to hear all of the evidence – including the unfairly suppressed evidence – concluded that Henry and Leon were innocent, concluded that they had been manifestly and excruciatingly wronged, and did what the law can do to rectify things as of this date, ”Raleigh’s attorney Elliot Abrams said after the trial.

Abrams was part of the brothers’ legal team, which issued a statement saying the decades-long wait “for recognition of the grave injustice” inflicted on the two men by law enforcement was over. She added that “a jury … has finally given. Henry and Leon have the opportunity to bring this horrible chapter in their life to a close. They look forward to a better future surrounded by friends, family and friends. dear ones. “

McCollum and Brown have pursued the civil case against law enforcement officials since 2015, arguing that their civil rights were violated during questioning that led to their conviction.

The two were released from prison in 2014 after DNA evidence pointing to a convicted murderer exonerated them. They were teenagers when they were charged with the felony, which occurred in Red Springs, Robeson County.

Lawyers for the men said they were scared teenagers who had low IQs when questioned by police and forced to confess. McCollum was 19 at the time and Brown was 15. Both were found guilty and sentenced to death.

McCollum spent most of his 31 years in prison on the death row, becoming North Carolina’s longest-serving death row inmate. Brown – who the newspaper said suffers from mental health issues related to his time in prison and requires full-time care – had his sentence later changed to life in prison.

Robeson County Sheriff’s Office on Friday, one of the accused, installed his share of the deal for $ 9 million. The town of Red Springs, originally named in the civil suit, installed in 2017 for $ 1 million.

Friday’s judgment came against former SBI agents Leroy Allen and Kenneth Snead, who were part of the original investigation.

Scott MacLatchie, lead defense counsel for the SBI agents, attempted in his final argument to cast doubt on the brothers’ innocence, the newspaper reported, despite the fact that they had received a full pardon from ‘innocence.

“I have my freedom,” McCollum said. “There are still a lot of innocent people in prison today. And they don’t deserve to be there.

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