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2 brothers pardoned after 30 years in prison

Tennessee residents may be interested to learn about a case involving two teenage brothers in North Carolina who were convicted of murder after false confessions. Now ages 51 and 47, the brothers were pardoned in June after spending three decades in prison. Each man was awarded $750,000 in compensation. According to the brothers' family, both of the men are having a difficult time adjusting to the outside world, and the 47-year-old brother suffers from severe mental health problems.

In 1983, the body of an 11-year-old girl was discovered in a soybean field near two bloody sticks, a beer can and cigarette butts. According to the brothers' criminal defense attorneys, police were able to coerce the brothers into submitting false confessions because they were unintelligent and scared. No physical evidence connected either of the brothers to the crime scene, and DNA gathered from the cigarette butts and the beer can did not match theirs.

Originally, both of the brothers were given the death penalty. Five years later, a new trial resulted in a death sentence for one brother and a life sentence for the other. The accused men's sister says that while she is happy about the pardon and the financial compensation, the prison time made her 47-year-old brother 'really sick."

Unethical interrogation methods can sometimes result in a person confessing to a crime that they never committed. Whether a person was bullied into confessing to a crime or confused about what happened due to sleep deprivation, a false confession may be thrown out when there is no physical evidence linking a person to a crime scene. A lawyer may be able to help someone who has submitted a false confession to have the case retried.

Source: ABC News, "Wrongly Convicted Brothers Each Get $750K Payout," Jonathan Drew, Sept. 2, 2015

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