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Updated: McCollum and Brown, wrongfully convicted decades ago, each awarded maximum compensation

Pardon

 

(Update: According to the AP, the commission has awarded Henry McCollum and Leon Brown $750,000 each, the maximum available under state law.)

At a hearing today, the North Carolina Industrial Commission will consider compensation claims filed by Henry McCollum and Leon Brown, two men wrongfully convicted in 1991 for the 1983 rape and murder of 11-year-old Sabrina Buie in Red Springs, North Carolina.

Under state law, the men are entitled to $50,000 for each of the more than 30 years they spent in jail — McCollum on death row and Brown serving a life sentence — up to $750,000 each.

The two men were exonerated by Superior Court Judge Douglas B. Sasser a year ago after DNA evidence pointed to another man. It then took Gov. Pat McCrory 266 days to pardon the men, a necessary step before an award of compensation.

Patrick Megaro, who represents the two men, is expected to address the commission, following on the petition filed on their behalf in July.

According to a report from the Associated Press, McCollum plans to attend the hearing along with his sister, but Brown is hospitalized for mental health issues exacerbated by his time in prison.

Compensation could not come any sooner, as the men left prison with just $45 in their pockets and have struggled to adjust to life outside.  Even more important than the money though is having their names cleared, McCollum told the AP in June.

Read the petition for compensation filed on their behalf here.

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