Two brothers wrongly imprisoned for 30 years are freed after convictions are quashed
New DNA evidence exonerated death row inmate Henry Lee McCollum, 50, and his half-brother Leon Brown, 46, of a 1983 murder
Two half-brothers wrongly incarcerated for 30 years have been released and have had their convictions overturned after fresh DNA evidence vindicated them.
Henry Lee McCollum, 50, who was on death row, and Leon Brown, 46, serving life, were arrested as teenagers in 1983 for the rape and murder of 11-year-old girl Sabrina Buie.
The innocent North Caroliners, who are diagnosed with mental disabilities, were released after new evidence linked the killing to another man who lived just feet from the soybean field that the girl’s body was found in and who was around the same time imprisoned himself for raping and killing an 18-year-old woman.
As the decision was announced by Superior Court Judge Douglas B Sasser yesterday, the men’s family erupted into applause and tears.
According to the New York Times, the brothers, who were 19 [McCollum] and 15 [Brown] at the time, had no physical evidence linking them to the crime.
However, Mr McCollum was considered suspicious by some in the town after recently moving there from New Jersey, and after five hours of questioning without a lawyer present he gave a story of how he and three others had killed the girl.
“I had never been under this much pressure, with a person hollering at me and threatening me,” Mr McCollum told The News & Observer in an interview.
“I just made up a story and gave it to them so they would let me go home.”
He wasn’t allowed home, however, and was allegedly coerced into signing a confession – there is no recording of the interrogation.
During his incarceration, Mr McCollum was held up as an example of someone who 'deserved to die'.
In 1994, a Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was arguing for the death penalty in an unrelated case when he referred to that of Mr McCollum's, and said that a quiet lethal injection would be "enviable" than that inflicted on the murdered young girl, reports Huffington Post.
Leon Brown sits in the day room of his death row cell on 10 June 1987 “This case highlights in a most dramatic manner the importance of finding the truth,” Ann Kirby, Mr Brown’s attorney, said, reports AFP.
“Today, truth has prevailed, but it comes 30 years too late for Sabrina Buie and her family, and for Leon, Henry, and their families.
“Their sadness, grief, and loss will remain with them forever.”
Mr McCollum was North Carolina’s longest-serving death row inmate and in later years, changes were made to the justice system to prevent minors and those with mental disabilities from being given the death sentence.
According to the Guardian, the police force in Red Springs is also accused of hiding crucial bits of crime scene evidence from 1984 until last month, that had not even been revealed to the defence teams or prosecutors.
- 1 Windows 10: man updates PC, wakes up to find porn slideshow on repeat
- 2 The 'world's most beautiful vagina' has been debunked by science
- 3 John Green schools morning show hosts after awkward interview with Cara Delevingne
- 4 Bulletproof armadillo puts Texas man in hospital after shot bounces off hard shell
- 5 Doctors declare war on Jeremy Hunt over weekend working 'myths' amid plan for seven day NHS
Whoopi Goldberg tells Cara Delevingne to suck it up: 'She's not famous. I'M famous'
John Green schools morning show hosts after awkward interview with Cara Delevingne
Jack the Ripper's final victim set to be exhumed following new theory on the killer's identity
Supermodel Gisele Bundchen mocked for wearing a burka to avoid being seen visiting plastic surgeon in Paris
Bulletproof armadillo puts Texas man in hospital after shot bounces off hard shell
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...
£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...