After they were wrongfully convicted for the murder of an 11-year-old girl and subsequently forced to spend over 30 years in prison, 51-year-old Henry McCollum and his 47-year-old half-brother Leon Brown have been freed and compensated for the life-changing mistake.
The North Carolina brothers were given $750,000 each for their time spent behind bars, but if you ask us, that amount just does not make up for over 30 years of time stolen.
Henry McCollum, 51, and his half-brother Leon Brown, 47, were released in September 2014 after a judge overturned their convictions, citing new DNA evidence that pointed to another man in the 1983 rape and murder of 11-year-old Sabrina Buie, the Associated Press reports.
After the brothers received pardons from the North Carolina governor in June, they were qualified to receive $50,000 for each year they spent in prison, with a limit of $750,000. Since the brothers spent more than 30 years in prison, they were awarded the full $750,000.
According to the site, only McCollum showed up to accept the monetary compensation. Brown suffers from mental health issues after being treated “worse than a dog” while in prison, and is currently in the hospital.
However, only McCollum turned up to accept the money as his younger brother suffers from various mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, since his imprisonment. He is currently in the hospital receiving treatment, Brown’s sister, Geraldine, told The News & Observer.
Geraldine Brown told the paper it was the ninth time her brother had been hospitalized since his release last year. “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.”
Patrick Megaro, a lawyer for the brothers, has filed a lawsuit against the people involved in their arrest and prosecution. “Leon was destroyed,” the suit reads. “He will never be right again.”
A cigarette butt that was recovered from the crime scene provided DNA evidence needed to exonerate McCollum, who was on death row, and Brown, who was sentenced to life.
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SOURCE: PEOPLE | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty