Gov. Pat McCrory has pardoned two men who finished sentences for crimes committed decades ago and have "become outstanding citizens," according to a news release from his office.
The pardons were granted to Linwood Paul Britton, 52, of Edenton, and Richard Allen Brown, 58, of Panama City, Fla.
“Paul Britton and Richard Brown paid for their mistakes, turned their lives around and have made significant contributions to our community and nation," McCrory said in a prepared statement. "They are a testimony to everyone that has been convicted of a crime that it’s never too late to turn your life around.”
In 1979, when he was 17, Britton pleaded guilty to armed robbery of an Edenton store and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. While incarcerated,he received his GED and joined a work release program at Jimbo's Jumbos peanuts in Edenton, where he still works as vice president of plant operations. Britton has been married for 17 years and has a 13-year-old daughter.
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In 1974, Brown, then 18, pleaded guilty in Guilford County to possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. He received a five-year suspended sentence and a $1,500 fine. Brown's suspended sentence was terminated in November 1975, so he could enlist in the U.S. Navy, where he served for 30 years.
He also worked as a Navy SEAL and retired from the military in 2005. Brown then worked as a private contractor for the State Department’s Antiterrorism Assistance Program and the Department of Homeland Security. He lives in Florida with his wife of 30 years and has two sons and a grandson.