The North Carolina Supreme Court has ruled 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 appeal process to receive life without parole if they could prove racial bias was a significant factor in their original death sentences. The law was repealed in 2013.
The American Civil Liberties Union represented Christina Walters, Tilmon Golphin and Quintel Augustine in the original hearings in Cumberland County.
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 State Highway Patrol Trooper Ed Lowry and Cumberland County Deputy Sheriff David Hathcock during an I-95 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.
Pictured: North Carolina Supreme Court