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

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
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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.

 

Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
Dana is an award-winning producer who began as a personality at Rock 92. Once she started creating content for morning shows, she developed a love for producing. Dana has written and produced for local and syndicated commercial radio for over a decade. WUNC is her debut into public radio and she’s excited to tell deeper, richer stories.
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