Charlotte Observer Says Innocence Case Proves Flaws in Death Penalty


After two North Carolina men who were declared innocent based on DNA evidence, an editorial in Wednesday’s

Charlotte Observer

asks how many other innocent people are awaiting death sentences?


Henry Lee McCollum and his half brother Leon Brown spent three decades behind bars after being wrongly convicted of the brutal 1983 rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl, but recent DNA testing not only proved their innocence, but also matched a local man who is serving life in prison for a similar murder committed nearby just weeks later.




writes: “It is this simple: Be it sloppy police work or prosecutorial misconduct or flawed eyewitness testimony, people are wrongly convicted of murder. Some are sentenced to death. And it is not rare.”


McCollum, the older brother, served his time on death row while Brown was in for life. Excluding McCollum, 18 people have already been proven innocent and exonerated by DNA testing in the United States after serving time on death row.


The editorial poses the question: “Now, the murderer is not a murderer, and those who were so sure he deserved to die must ask: How many more Henry Lee McCollums might there be?”


Read the full editorial



Read more about

the Innocent and the Death Penalty


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