NC half brothers freed after 3 decades in prison


Washington Post:

NC half brothers freed after 3 decades in prison

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina’s longest-serving death row inmate and his younger half brother walked out as free men Wednesday, three decades after they were convicted of raping and murdering an 11-year-old girl who DNA evidence shows may have been killed by another man.

Henry McCollum, 50, hugged his weeping parents at the gates of Central Prison in Raleigh, a day after a judge ordered his release, citing the new evidence in the 1983 slaying of Sabrina Buie. His half brother, 46-year-old Leon Brown, was later freed from Maury Correctional Institution near Greenville, where he had been serving a life sentence.

“I knew one day I was going to be blessed to get out of prison, I just didn’t know when that time was going to be,” McCollum said. “I just thank God that I am out of this place. There’s not anger in my heart. I forgive those people and stuff. But I don’t like what they done to me and my brother because they took 30 years away from me for no reason. But I don’t hate them. I don’t hate them one bit.”
Through his attorney, Brown declined to be interviewed following his release.

Thank God the new evidence showed up before the execution went forward. I’m not opposed to the death penalty in principle but there are way too many stories like this one.


This is exactly why, even though I’m a “tough on crime” conservative attorney, I’m against the death penalty. As you say, too many stories like this.


[](“Indianapolis Recorder”)

The other man who failed miserably in giving the brothers a fair shot is United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. In 1994, when the brothers had already served 10 years, Scalia refused a request to review the case. In explaining his refusal, Scalia described “McCollumn’s crime as so heinous that it would be hard to argue against lethal injection.” Even when a fellow justice noted McCollum’s mental capacity was the same as that of a 9-year-old, Scalia refused.

Scalia even used this case in a 1994 decision as a reason to use lethal injection.


I heard the family of the victims reacted to this by saying, they were disappointed these men were released…??? Did I miss something? Why would they be disappointed that DNA technology proved 2 people were unjustly sent to prison for so long? doesnt make sense.

Only thing I can think of is, they dont trust or believe in DNA technology…(shrugs?), but Ive never heard anyone with this theory…I thought just about everyone agreed that DNA technology is useful and highly accurate…but I guess there will always be people stuck in the past, who dont believe in new things…strange that they would make such a comment though.


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