CRIME

Governor pardons 2 brothers in 1983 rape, killing; move clears way for them to receive $750K

  • FILE - In a Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014 file photo, Henry McCollum walks out of prison after being released from Central Prison in Raleigh, N.C. Henry McCollum and his half-brother Leon Brown were pardoned Thursday, June 4, 2015, by Gov. Pat McCrory in the 1983 rape and killing of a girl, clearing the way for them to each receive $750,000 in compensation from the state. McCrory’s pardons for McCollum and his Brown came months after a judge vacated their convictions and ordered their release, citing new DNA evidence that points to another man killing and raping 11-year-old Sabrina Buie.(AP Photo/Michael Biesecker, File)

    FILE - In a Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014 file photo, Henry McCollum walks out of prison after being released from Central Prison in Raleigh, N.C. Henry McCollum and his half-brother Leon Brown were pardoned Thursday, June 4, 2015, by Gov. Pat McCrory in the 1983 rape and killing of a girl, clearing the way for them to each receive $750,000 in compensation from the state. McCrory’s pardons for McCollum and his Brown came months after a judge vacated their convictions and ordered their release, citing new DNA evidence that points to another man killing and raping 11-year-old Sabrina Buie.(AP Photo/Michael Biesecker, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In an Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014 file photo, Leon Brown speaks with a reporter at the Maury Correctional Institution in Maury, N.C., about his incarceration. Brown and his half-brother Henry McCollum were pardoned Thursday, June 4, 2015, by Gov. Pat McCrory in the 1983 rape and killing of a girl, clearing the way for them to each receive $750,000 in compensation from the state. McCrory's pardons for McCollum and his Brown came months after a judge vacated their convictions and ordered their release, citing new DNA evidence that points to another man killing and raping 11-year-old Sabrina Buie.(Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer via AP, File) MANDATORY CREDIT, TV AND TV WEBSITES OUT

    FILE - In an Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014 file photo, Leon Brown speaks with a reporter at the Maury Correctional Institution in Maury, N.C., about his incarceration. Brown and his half-brother Henry McCollum were pardoned Thursday, June 4, 2015, by Gov. Pat McCrory in the 1983 rape and killing of a girl, clearing the way for them to each receive $750,000 in compensation from the state. McCrory's pardons for McCollum and his Brown came months after a judge vacated their convictions and ordered their release, citing new DNA evidence that points to another man killing and raping 11-year-old Sabrina Buie.(Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer via AP, File) MANDATORY CREDIT, TV AND TV WEBSITES OUT  (The Associated Press)

Two brothers wrongfully imprisoned for three decades in the killing of an 11-year-old girl say pardons will help them move on with clear consciences and clear names.

And North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory's action on Thursday qualifies them for hundreds of thousands of dollars to help Henry McCollum and Leon Brown adjust to the outside world.

They can claim $750,000 under a state law that allows compensation for people wrongly convicted of felonies.

In September, a judge ordered their release, citing new DNA evidence that indicates another man killed and raped Sabrina Buie.

Defense attorneys say the brothers were scared teenagers who had low IQs when they were questioned by police. They say the brothers were coerced into confessing. McCollum was then 19, and Brown was 15.