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United States: Brothers receive $ 75 million in compensation for 30 years of innocent imprisonment


A dead eleven-year-old and two confessions - the 1983 case seemed to be quickly resolved. But then a DNA test exonerated the alleged murderer. Now they are being compensated.

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Henry McCollum (2014 after his release from prison)

Photo: Michael Biesecker / AP

The case caused quite a stir in 2014.

It was then that Henry Lee McCollum and Leon Brown were released from custody.

Both had previously spent three decades behind bars for a murder they did not commit.

In the years that followed, the brothers endeavored to obtain compensation for the injustice they had suffered.

Now a jury in the US state of North Carolina has awarded them a total of around 75 million US dollars.

Each of them receives $ 1 million a year in prison, plus an additional $ 13 million in special allowances.

The jury had "done what the legal system can do today to bring about justice so late," said a lawyer for the brothers.

The British Guardian, among others, reported on the case.

A DNA test had helped McCollum and Brown to freedom in 2014.

Thirty years after their conviction for the rape and murder of an eleven-year-old, the two mentally handicapped half-brothers were exonerated as innocent by the US judiciary.

Citing new DNA evidence, a judge in the Robeson district of North Carolina released death row inmate McCollum and life-imprisonment Brown from prison.

Confessions raised questions

The eleven-year-old girl was found dead in a field after being raped in 1983, surrounded by empty beer cans and cigarette butts.

The police interrogated the then 19- and 15-year-old half-brothers.

Although McCollum initially knew nothing about the incident, the police presented a signed confession after a five-hour interrogation.

Brown also pleaded guilty.

How the confessions came about could no longer be understood.

At that time, the investigators were not yet obliged to make audio or video recordings of confessions.

McCollum and Brown were sentenced to death, Brown's sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment.

It later became clear that the two Afro-American adolescents' guilty confessions contained facts that the half-brothers could not possibly have known.


Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2021-05-18

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