Two Brothers Awarded $75M After Almost 40 Years in Prison
Meet Henry McCollum and Leon Brown, two biological half brothers from Red Springs, North Carolina who were wrongfully convicted and spent nearly four decades in prison. Now, just six years after being exonerated, they are to receive a $75 million settlement from the city.
The two brothers were arrested in 1983 and charged for the rape and murder of an 11-year old girl. However, they were released from prison in 2014 after newly discovered DNA evidence proved them innocent and pointed investigators to a different suspect.
They subsequently filed their civil rights lawsuit in 2015, and the jury decided that in addition to $13 million in punitive damages, they should receive $1 million each for every year that they spent in prison.
In a statement released to the press, one of their attorneys praised the jury for giving the two brothers “the ability to close this horrific chapter of their lives.”
The brothers had maintained their innocence from the very beginning. McCollum, who was 19-years old at the time, and Brown, who 15-years old, were reportedly coerced into confessing.
They were both convicted and sentenced to death, and both spent 31 years in prison.
Their settlement is considered to be very significant because not all exonerees are compensated.