Henry McCollum listening to evidence of his innocence. Photo by Jenny Warburg / Courtesy of North Carolina Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.
Wednesday marks the 230th day that Governor Pat McCrory has refused to grant a pardon of innocence to Henry McCollum and Leon Brown, the two Robeson County men who both spent 31 years in prison for a rape and murder they did not commit.
The two men, both mentally disabled and struggling to pay their bills, need the pardon from McCrory to be eligible for financial compensation from the state for the years they were wrongly incarcerated. McCrory received the petition September 11 of last year.
McCrory has been busy of course, most recently taking an unannounced trip to Los Angeles where he appeared on a panel at conference Monday according to a news release from his office that was covered by most media outlets.
The news release did not include what McCrory was doing Saturday night on what we can only presume was a taxpayer financed trip, hobnobbing with Paula Abdul and other celebrities at an event called the Global Gourmet Games where he was rubbing shoulders with the stars to raise money for medical research.
McCrory was mentioned in the account of the festivities in the L.A. Times.
Paula Abdul said she didn’t think herself a food expert, but her table host Richard Merkin, chief executive of Heritage Provider Network, said that if the team had listened to her suggestions, its scores would be higher. As a vegan, former NBA star John Salley may not have tried all the foods, but as an owner of Vegan Vine Wines, he understood wines better than most.
Four-time Gourmet Games champion Stephen Cloobeck, chairman of Diamond Resorts International, shared his secret of success, a belief in “human capital.” And so this year, he stacked his team with a chef, sommelier and mixologist.
Other players included Guess Chairman Maurice Marciano, Bombardier Executive Chair Pierre Beaudoin, Hyatt hotel heir Anthony Pritzker, AARP Chief Executive Jo Ann Jenkins, “Blue Bloods” producer Leonard Goldberg, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, former California Gov. Gray Davis and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Meanwhile Henry McCollum and Leon Brown are still waiting for justice from McCrory and still struggling to pay their water bill.
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