Ten years after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review their case, and 30 years after they were convicted, two half-brothers have been cleared of a 1983 sexual assault and murder thanks to DNA. Henry Lee "Buddy" McCollum, 50, has spent three decades on death row, while Leon Brown, 46, was serving a life sentence. Both are expected to be released today, reports The New York Times.
Their case is notable for a number of reasons: McCollum's low IQ, said to be in the 60s, puts him at or near the territory for categorical ineligibility due to his intellectual disability. Brown, who also faced the death penalty at the time, was only 15 when the crime was committed (and would also now be ineligible for execution). And though there have been a handful of death row exonerations in the past, this case looks particularly weak in retrospect -- a coerced confession, an overlooked suspect, and little to no other evidence.
But most of all, it is a sarcastic quip about McCollum's case by Justice Antonin Scalia that's attracting attention.