A North Carolina jury has granted two Black, intellectually disabled inmates $75 million for being wrongfully convicted of an atrocious 1983 crime against an 11-year-old girl.
Henry McCollum and his half-brother Leon Brown served 31 years behind bars before the real killer of the girl was identified.
The jury decided Friday to award both of them $31 million each for the years they spent in jail and $13 million in punitive damages.
“A jury has finally given Henry and Leon the ability to close this horrific chapter of their lives. They look forward to a brighter future surrounded by friends, family, and loved ones,” Raleigh Attorney Elliot Abrams said.
The pair’s defense attorney had argued they were just teens, 19 and 15, when the murder occurred and were scared and easily coerced to confess especially given their low IQs.
“I’ve got my freedom,” McCollum said. “There’s still a lot of innocent people in prison today. And they don’t deserve to be there.”