Leon Brown was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1984, but freed because of evidence uncovered by the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission. Brown was 15 when he confessed to the rape and murder of 11-year-old Sabrina Buie. Intellectually disabled—Brown has scored as low as 49 on IQ tests— Brown maintained his innocence since his trial, saying he was unaware he was signing a confession. In their investigation the Commission found DNA evidence near the crime scene belonging to another man, Roscoe Artis, who was sentenced to death for a crime similar to the one for which Brown was sentenced to death.
On September 2, 2014 a Robeson County judge freed Brown based on DNA evidence.