Wrongfully convicted brothers McCollum and Brown awarded $750,000 compensation

Two wrongfully convicted brothers Henry McCollum and Leon Brown filed a complaint against Robeson County alleging the county’s failure or refusal to investigate exculpatory evidence and the failure or refusal to disclose exculpatory evidence against McCollum and Brown. The two men had served just under 31 years in prison on murder and rape charges before fingerprints and DNA found at the scene of the crime excluded them and implicated another man, Roscoe Artis, who was in prison and had befriended McCollum and Brown while incarcerated. Nine latent fingerprints had been found on a beer can near the body of the victim but only two could be used for comparison and analysis. In 2010, the Innocence Inquiry Commission obtained a court order directing the Red Springs Police Department to provide any physical evidence in the case to the Commission. The police department denied that it had any such evidence and that the entire file had been turned over to the State Bureau of Investigation. In 2014, another request was made to the police department. Although the police department denied having any such evidence, it agreed to search again and discovered physical evidence form the crime including the beer cans and a cigarette butt that had been found near the victim. Both fingerprints from the beer can and DNA from the cigarette butts excluded McCollum and Brown and indicated that Artis had a high probability of being a match. The two brothers were released in September 2014 and filed suit on August 31, 2015. The state of North Carolina approved $750,000 as compensation on September 2, 2015 for the two brothers’ wrongful conviction.


McCollum v. Robeson County Complaint


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