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RALEIGH, N.C. — Two brothers, one of whom spent three decades on death row, were pardoned Thursday in the 1983 rape and killing of a girl, clearing the way for them to receive $750,000 in compensation from the state.

Gov. Pat McCrory’s pardons for Henry McCollum and his half-brother Leon Brown were issued after a judge vacated their convictions and ordered their release in September. The judge cited new DNA evidence that points to another man killing and raping 11-year-old Sabrina Buie.

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

Read more: WTVD