Ad Spot

Three North Carolina death row inmates to serve life in prison

By Bryan Anderson, Associated Press/Report for America

The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled on Friday that three death row inmates will have their sentences reduced to life in prison through the state’s now-defunct Racial Justice Act.

The 2009 law allowed death row inmates to go through an appeals process to receive life without parole if they could prove racial bias was the reason or a significant factor in their original death sentence. North Carolina Republican state lawmakers amended the law in 2012 and then repealed it a year later.

The state Supreme Court decided in June that the repeal could not be applied retroactively, which paved the way for more than 100 prisoners awaiting execution to continue to pursue the reduced sentences they initially sought when the RJA was in effect.

The American Civil Liberties Union represented Christina Walters, Tilmon Golphin and Quintel Augustine in the original RJA hearings in Cumberland County. It also argued on behalf of Walters as the case rose to the Supreme Court.

“The ACLU is thrilled that the North Carolina Supreme Court has ordered that our client Christina Walters be removed from death row,” said a statement from attorney Henderson Hill.

“The powerful evidence of racial bias presented in her case shows not just that her death sentence was wrong, but why it is long past time for America to abandon the death penalty,” Hill said. “The legacy of death penalty in America is one of racial terror. Its racist application continues to deepen the wounds of inequality and normalize extreme sentencing practices that have no place in a just society.”

Walters, who led a Fayetteville street gang, was convicted of the 1998 murders of 18-year-old Tracy Lambert and 21-year-old Susan Moore and the attempted murder of Debra Cheeseborough.

Augustine was convicted of killing Fayetteville police Officer Roy Turner Jr. in November 2001.

Golphin killed N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper Ed Lowry and Cumberland County sheriff’s Deputy David Hathcock during a traffic stop in September 1997.

Superior Court Judge Gregory Weeks in 2012 cited a “wealth of evidence” of racially biased jury selection in all three cases. Weeks made a similar statement about death row inmate Marcus Robinson. Last month, the state Supreme Court ruled  that Robinson could serve life without parole.

In 2012, Robinson became the first death row inmate to successfully use North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act to receive a lesser sentence. His death sentence for the killing of 17-year-old Erick Tornblom had been reinstated after the law was nullified, but was reduced once again in August following the court’s decision.

READ ABOUT MORE NEWS HERE.

RECENT HEADLINES:

Capital projects for Dare County water system approved

Kitty Hawk amends building measurement guideline

News

Organizations and individuals join to support victims of Buxton fire

Crime

Second degree murder charges filed for death of Kitty Hawk woman

News

DEQ awards $11.5 million in storm damage grants

Crime

Tolson charged with second degree murder in death of LeeAnn Fletcher

Business

Food Lion To-Go launches in Columbia

News

Weekly gas price update for North Carolina

News

North Carolina Ferry System designated federal Marine Highway Project

News

Early vote total exceeds 2016; GOP chips at Dems’ advantage

News

Coast Guard ensign from North Carolina identified as one of servicewomen killed in Alabama plane crash

News

Dare students go back to school Monday

News

New welding lab opened at College of The Albemarle’s Dare campus

Lifestyles

North Carolina Zoo featured in new Nat Geo WILD series

Lifestyles

Taking a dip at Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge

News

Applications open for new rent and utility assistance program

News

Visitation at Cape Hatteras National Seashore up again

Lifestyles

Nine Dare County employees receive service pins

Currituck

Currituck Extension holding hay bale decorating contest

Business

Company that maintains state-owned rest areas settles EEOC lawsuit

News

Buxton fire claimed lives of four, county confirms

News

Manteo Planning Board paves the way for COA project, but questions remain

News

COVID-19 update sees case numbers increasing

Currituck

Feeling festive? Enter Currituck Extension’s fall arrangement contest

Lifestyles

FOCUS: Rods on the Run

News

Coast Guard confirms family of active duty member unaccounted for in Buxton fire