The State Bureau of Investigation said Tuesday that the agency and its insurers have agreed to pay more than $12 million to two men who spent a combined 31 years behind bars for crimes it was later found that they didn't commit.
The state agreed to pay $7.85 million to settle a lawsuit filed by Floyd Brown, who was locked up for 14 years in a psychiatric hospital for what his lawyers said was a story made up by an SBI agent.
"The SBI and other law enforcement agencies now have better interrogation methods and lab reporting practices than were used in the 1990s when the incidents at issue in these lawsuits occurred," Attorney General Roy Cooper said in a statement. "It was in the best interest of the state to settle these cases."
Brown reached a separate agreement with Anson County authorities who investigated his case.
Greg Taylor will get a settlement of $4.625 million. He was convicted in 1993 for murder. He spent 17 years behind bars before a three-judge panel declared him innocent in 2010, the first such exoneration by an independent innocence commission in the United States.
Taylor, who is from Raleigh and went to Sanderson High School, was sent to prison for the murder of a woman found beaten and abandoned in an East Raleigh cul-de-sac. The state will pay Taylor $100,000 and the rest will come from insurance.
In 2009, the SBI and its insurers agreed to pay $3.9 million to Alan Gell, a former death row inmate who spent nine years behind bars for a murder he didn't commit.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Greg Taylor timeline
1980: Taylor graduates from Sanderson High School in Raleigh.
Sept. 25, 1991: Taylor, who is married and has a child, goes out partying in Raleigh and his truck gets stuck in the mud.
April 19, 1993: Taylor found guilty of the murder of Jacquetta Thomas, a Southeast Raleigh prostitute. He is shackled and sent to Central Prison.
1994: Appeal to N.C. Supreme Court denied.
Feb. 17, 2010: Innocence Commission exonerates Taylor. He is 47 at the time.