NC Men Still Paying For A Crime They Didn’t Commit

May 3, 2018

Henry McCollum,left, and his half brother Leon Brown thought their prayers were answered when DNA evidence proved them innocent of rape and murder. They were released from prison after 31 years and paid $750,000 in reparation. Investigative reporter, Joe Neff, shares the story of how the two were bilked by those who should have protected them.
Credit Courtesy of Patrick Megaro

In 1983, an 11-year-old girl was raped and killed in Red Springs, North Carolina. Half brothers Henry McCollum and Leon Brown, teenagers at the time, initially confessed to the crime, but later recanted saying they were coerced. They spent 31 years in prison until DNA from the crime scene proved them innocent.

That is when investigative journalist Joe Neff took notice of the case. Neff joins host Frank Stasio to talk about the continued injustice the men have endured since their release in 2014. After being pardoned by the governor, they were given $750,000 each in reparation money, but it was quickly pilfered by a crafty lawyer and women claiming to be advocates. Even their own sister squandered the money on personal items and fancy cars. Neff, who spent decades with The News & Observer, now reports for The Marshall Project. He recently published a series of articles in collaboration with The New York Times that traces the half brothers’ story.