RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The latest on two brothers wrongly convicted in North Carolina three decades ago in the killing of an 11-year-old girl (all times local):
An attorney for two brothers freed after 30 years of wrongful imprisonment has filed a lawsuit against the county and town where the killing happened, as well as investigators involved in the case.
The lawsuit alleges that the men's civil rights were violated. Henry McCollum and his half brother Leon Brown were awarded $750,000 each in compensation on Wednesday.
Attorney Patrick Megaro said in a news release that the defendants in the lawsuit "grossly abused their authority" and "took advantage of two mentally-disabled teenagers."
McCollum and Brown were released last September after a judge threw out their convictions, citing new DNA evidence that points to another man in the 1983 rape and killing of Sabrina Buie.
The lawsuit filed Monday in federal court seeks unspecified damages.
One of the two North Carolina brothers awarded $750,000 for three decades of wrongful imprisonment says that clearing his name is the most important part of the process.
Henry McCollum says he enjoys his freedom and being able "to walk down that street with my head up high." McCollum and his half-brother Leon Brown were awarded $750,000 each on Wednesday.
The men's sister Geraldine Brown says that the compensation is bittersweet considering how much her brothers suffered in jail. Leon Brown didn't attend the hearing because his sister says he's in a hospital suffering from mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder. He also has diabetes and has been refusing to take his medicine.
"He did not go in that way," she said. "They snatched him from my mother as a baby."
Two North Carolina brothers have been awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars from the state, three decades after wrongful convictions in the killing an 11-year-old girl landed one on death row and the other in prison for a life sentence.
On Wednesday, Deputy Commissioner J. Brad Donovan of the North Carolina Industrial Commission awarded Henry McCollum and his half brother Leon Brown $750,000 each for their wrongful conviction and imprisonment for 30 years.
Donovan says the funds will be available after a period of 15 days. That is required in case the state appeals. The state treasury can then disburse the money.
Marc Snead of the state Department of Justice says the state agrees the men should get the money.
McCollum appeared at the hearing, calm and wearing a gray suit, but Brown was not there.
North Carolina officials are holding a hearing on compensation for two brothers wrongfully imprisoned for three decades in the killing of an 11-year-old girl.
The North Carolina Industrial Commission will hear from a lawyer for Henry McCollum and Leon Brown on Wednesday, and the attorney general's office may also speak.
The two were pardoned in June, qualifying each man to collect $750,000 from the state. The hearing is one of several steps that are largely considered formalities before the money can be paid.
An attorney for the men says McCollum plans to attend the hearing along with his sister. However, Brown has been hospitalized for mental health issues exacerbated by his time in prison.
McCollum had been the longest-serving inmate on North Carolina's death row before the pair was released last year.