Press Release: NC's First Death Row Pardons PDF Print E-mail

NC Governor Pardons McCollum and Brown,

Needs to End Executions

RALEIGH, June 4, 2015 – Today, NC Gov. Pat McCrory pardoned Henry McCollum and Leon Brown. These are the first pardons of people exonerated from North Carolina's death row in the modern era.

Last September Henry and Leon were exonerated for the rape and murder of 11-year-old Sabrina Buie in 1984. At the time of his release Henry was the longest-serving prisoner on North Carolina’s death row. Leon spent five years on death row and then a quarter-century in prison for the same crime.

“Henry and Leon are the eighth and ninth exonerees from North Carolina’s lethally flawed death penalty system,” said People of Faith Against the Death Penalty Executive Director Stephen Dear.  “We thank Gov. McCrory for the pardons, but at the very least the next step is to place an immediate moratorium on executions in North Carolina. The only real solution to these atrocities is to repeal the death penalty.”  

Though innocent, Henry and Leon became targets of the powerful.
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia once called for Henry’s death in stating his support for the death penalty and called the execution of Henry by lethal injection “enviable.” In 2010 the NC Republican Party sent campaign mailers prior to the general election with Henry’s mug shot on it saying he would be free under the Racial Justice Act supported by Democrats. “Get to know Henry McCollum. He RAPED AND MURDERED AN 11 YEAR OLD CHILD….”

Both men have IQs in the 50s and 60s. After hours of intense police interrogation without lawyers present they signed confessions believing they could go home. New DNA evidence points to another man, Roscoe Artis, who is serving a life sentence for a similar murder committed just weeks after the murder of Sabrina Buie. Even after they were exonerated Leon and Henry were ordered to register as sex offenders, thus making it virtually impossible to get jobs.

“What Henry and Leon have faced we can’t imagine,” Dear said.

Outside of a court settlement in one case North Carolina has never outright provided any of its death row exonerees any compensation until now. Henry and Leon will receive up to $750,000.

“PFADP calls on North Carolinians to repent over allowing a system such as the death penalty to remain in place while the evidence of its outright moral and practical failure mounts year after year,” Dear said.

“You’ve still got innocent people on North Carolina’s death row,” Henry McCollum said as he was released last year. “You’ve got some guys who should not have gotten the death penalty. That’s wrong. You got to do something."


A Message from Our Executive Director - December 30, 2014 PDF Print E-mail

Thanks to You!

Dear friend,

Last month in a banquet hall full of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty's supporters we celebrated our 20th year of witness and organizing for unbinding our country from the death penalty. Sr. Helen Prejean, legislative and community leaders, faith leaders from several states, death row exonerees, long-time advocates, and actress Susan Sarandon via video joined us in celebrating PFADP being able to make a difference towards abolition.

This is a time of great hope for abolishing the death penalty. We fully expect that in another 20 years the death penalty will be a memory, a cautionary tale.

Thanks to you.

To help get us there we are continuing to till the soil for abolition, to organize, advocate, train, and expand our circle of abolitionists.

To do that we need you to continue your support. Please give a generous year-end, tax-deductible donation right now here:

Please consider making a monthly, recurring, tax-deductible donation to PFADP to sustain our work. You can also mail checks to the address below.

Thank you. May the year ahead for you and all of us bring us closer to a world where the strength of love and compassion binds us for our journey together.


Steve Dear

Executive Director

P.S. Got a question? Got an idea or suggestion? Let's talk! Call us at (919) 933-7567 or email me at sdear (at)

Be a Part of This Kairos Moment PDF Print E-mail

Keep the Momemtum Going, Volunteer with PFADP

This really is a Kairos moment, when momentum is building towards abolishing the death penalty. To keep this momentum going, we'd like you to take this short survey about volunteering with PFADP:

In the past few days we have learned that one in every 25 people sentenced to die in America in the modern era has been innocent. Millions reeled at reports of the torture of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma’s death chamber. President Obama has ordered a federal review of the practice of the death penalty. We celebrate the ongoing efforts that are bringing us closer to repeal in more and more states every year. We are approaching a milestone accomplishment in our work for repeal in North Carolina, with nearly 1,000 resolutions for repeal passed by towns, businesses, and congregations.

As PFADP marks our 20th year there is much to celebrate. We have made so much progress thanks to the hard work of thousands of supporters and volunteers over the past two decades. Yet, despite all that has been achieved, there remains much to do. We must keep working until the death penalty is only a terrible memory in our past.  

We at PFADP have high hopes for offering resources and programs to faith communities, clergy and lay leaders, and repeal campaigns across the country at this kairos moment.

But we need your help. We need your time. We need your talent. Yeah, we definitely need some of your treasure, too. (Click here to help with that.)

We can’t go forward without you!

We are hoping you will volunteer for PFADP from where you live. Here are some areas where we need you:

Got tech skills? Help with the design and maintenance of our website and publications.

Got something to say?
Write articles for our website or a commentary in your local paper.

Got fingers? Enter data for our database from your home or dorm room.

Know a pastor or two? 
Ask them and their congregation leadership to pass a repeal resolution or sign a clergy letter.

Want to take your volunteering to a higher level? Offer to serve as a liaison between PFADP and your state’s repeal campaign.

Want to help lead PFADP? Nominate yourself or someone you admire to serve on our board of directors.

Got another idea to help? Please let us know.

Let’s get started. Please take a few minutes to complete this short survey and we’ll be in touch.

This is a Kairos moment.  Come and be a part of it!  

Thank you!

- All of us at PFADP

P.S. On this Mother's Day we are mindful of all of the mothers who have lost loved ones to murder on our streets, in our homes -- and in our country's execution chambers. Let's pray and act to make our country less violent.
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Page 1 of 15