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2 Men Awarded $750,000 for Wrongful Convictions in 1983 Murder – The New York Times


Mr. McCollum and Mr. Brown had traveled from New Jersey to Red Springs, N.C., a small town near the Carolina border, to visit relatives when they were arrested Sept. 28, 1983, for the rape and murder of 11-year-old Sabrina Buie. Mr. McCollum was 19, and Mr. Brown 15. The crime drew national attention for its brutality: The victim had been suffocated with her own underwear shoved down her throat.

But there was no physical evidence that either man had been involved. Under hours of questioning by the police with no lawyer present, Mr. McCollum falsely confessed. The two were convicted and sentenced to death. In 1994, Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court cited the brutality of the rape and murder as evidence that the death penalty was not a “cruel and unusual punishment” as prohibited by the Eighth Amendment.

Lawyers with the Center for Death Penalty Litigation pressed for DNA testing of evidence, including a cigarette butt left near the murder scene. The North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission found the DNA matched that of another man, Roscoe Artis, who lived a block from where the victim’s body was found. Mr. Artis was serving a life sentence for the rape and murder of an 18-year-old.

After years of legal wrangling, Judge Douglas B. Sasser vacated the convictions on Sept. 2, 2014. The next morning, the two men walked out of prison as free men and were driven to their father’s home in Bolivia, N.C. Mr. McCollum had been on death row for so long that he did not know how to fasten the seatbelt.

via 2 Men Awarded $750,000 for Wrongful Convictions in 1983 Murder – The New York Times.

Yes, that’s right, the same Antonin Scalia who should be impeached and removed from the Supreme Court for his behavior in cases too numerous to mention.

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