North Carolina Approves $750,000 Payments to Henry McCollum and Leon Brown, Half-Brothers Who Spent 30 Years in Prison for a Crime They Didn’t Commit

Henry McCollum and his half brother, Leon Brown.
Henry McCollum and his half brother, Leon Brown.

The state of North Carolina on Wednesday morning formally approved the payment of $750,000 each to Henry McCollum and Leon Brown, half-brothers who spent more than 30 years in prison for a murder they did not commit.

The action gave exactly one year after a Superior Court judge declared the two men innocent of the 1983 murder of an 11-year-old girl in Robeson County.

Gov. Pat McCrory granted a pardon of innocence in June, a prerequisite for the approval of payment by a deputy commissioner of the N.C. Industrial Commission.

McCollum said the payment would help support his brother, himself and his family, who stood by them during their decades in prison.

Leon Brown did not attend Wednesday’s hearing. His sister, Geraldine Brown, said he is currently hospitalized for mental health treatment. She said he has been hospitalized nine times since his release from prison.

Geraldine Brown blames her brother’s problems on what she said were unspeakable things that happened to him in prison.

“Leon was treated like a dog,” she said. “Pick him up when you want to, do whatever you want to him, drop him and just forget about him, like a dog. Actually worse than a dog.”

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Source: News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C. | Joseph Neff

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