Henry McCollum

Henry McCollum, left, spent 30 years, 11 months and seven days on death row. Leon Brown was imprisoned at the age of 15 and spend the first decade in solitary confinement. In 2014 the men were released after DNA evidence implicated another man.
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.

Henry McCollum
Michael Biesecker, File / AP

A federal judge said Thursday that he will approve a $1 million payout from a North Carolina town to two half brothers wrongfully imprisoned for 30 years, but the men's attorneys must justify their cut of the proceeds before the court finalizes the settlement.

Henry McCollum, left, spent 30 years, 11 months and seven days on death row. Leon Brown was imprisoned at the age of 15 and spend the first decade in solitary confinement. In 2014 the men were released after DNA evidence implicated another man.
Courtesy of Patrick Megaro

When two wrongfully imprisoned brothers were pardoned after 30 years behind bars, they stood to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation. Now a federal judge is considering whether too much of their payout is being siphoned away by legal fees and high-interest loans.

Henry McCollum, left, spent 30 years, 11 months and seven days on death row. Leon Brown was imprisoned at the age of 15 and spend the first decade in solitary confinement. In 2014 the men were released after DNA evidence implicated another man.
Courtesy of Patrick Megaro

Two North Carolina men who were wrongfully convicted of murder and spent 30 years in prison are receiving financial compensation. Henry McCollum and his half-brother Leon Brown are each getting $750,000 from the state. The men were released a year ago after DNA evidence helped to exonerate them. Henry McCollum said no amount of money can make up for the lost time. The 51-year-old is hoping to make the most of his future.

Photo: The lethal injection room at San Quentin State Prison
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation / Public Doman

North Carolina prosecutors have sought the death penalty against about two people per year since 1989 without enough evidence to prove their guilt, according to the Center for Death Penalty Litigation.  The advocacy group opposes the death penalty and helped represent former death row inmate Henry McCollum, who was recently exonerated after 30 years in jail.

Henry McCollum and Leon Brown are getting full pardons from the Governor after spending more than three decades in prison. The victim in this case was Sabrina Buie. In 1983 the 11-year-old girl was raped and murdered in Robeson County.  Brothers McCollum and Brown were tried and convicted for the murders. They never stopped declaring their innocence. Six years ago their case was reopened, and in 2014 the men were exonerated, due in part to DNA evidence. On Thursday Gov. Pat McCrory granted pardons, after months of review.

Statement from the Henry McCollum and Leon Brown: