Innocent brothers freed after 30-years for rape

Washington - Two mentally impaired half-brothers were freed on Tuesday after serving three decades in a United States prison for the rape and murder of a child that they did not commit.

A judge in Robeson County said that Henry Lee McCollum, aged 50, North Carolina state's longest-serving death-row inmate, and Leon Brown, aged 46, were innocent of the 1983 rape and killing of 11-year-old Sabrina Buie after new DNA evidence came to light.

Both are severely intellectually disabled and were teenagers at the time of their arrests in 1983.

Following false confessions, McCollum was given a death sentence and Brown was serving life for the rape.

"This case highlights in a most dramatic manner the importance of finding the truth", said Ann Kirby, attorney for Brown.

"Today, truth has prevailed, but it comes 30 years too late for Sabrina Buie and her family, and for Leon, Henry, and their families.

"Their sadness, grief, and loss will remain with them forever."

North Carolina state law now requires homicide interrogations to be recorded or videotaped, but at the time the brothers were convicted such laws were not in effect.

There were no recordings of the confessions, which contained details that authorities now acknowledge were factually impossible.

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Shaun Gouws 2014-09-03 08:20:23 AM
How do you give 30 years back to someone? This is sad.
Ruca Fallen 2014-09-03 08:50:30 AM
I wonder how many innocent people there are in jail today in SA because of bad interpreters in our courtrooms.
Jurgen Eksteen 2014-09-03 08:58:01 AM
Massive law suit looming. The state has no foot to stand on.
Ramila Thobye 2014-09-03 09:37:31 AM
Reason why death penalty was stopped in SA. Wrongful confection.
Nadia Smit 2014-09-03 09:52:59 AM
This is VERY sad.
Nadia Smit 2014-09-03 09:54:56 AM
However, in South Africa I cannot see another way to deal with the criminals out there other than the death penalty. If you take the number of innocent people in jail for murder/rape vs. innocent people dying and being raped, harsher sentences might not be such a bad idea.