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Judge Commutes Three Death Row Sentences

Three death row inmates had their sentences commuted yesterday to life in prison.  A Cumberland County judge said race wrongly played a role in the jury selection for their cases.

Tilmon Golphin, Christina Walters and Quintel Augustine were on death row for killing five people – three of them law enforcement officers.  Scott Bass is Executive Director of “Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation.” He was in court when Superior Court Judge Greg Weeks re-sentenced the three inmates.

Scott Bass:  "You know I can’t say that I’m happy.  There’s nothing to celebrate here."

Bass says his group supports the Racial Justice Act – but victims’ families should not have had to wait so long for a resolution.  Ken Rose is a staff attorney for the Center for Death Penalty Research.

Ken Rose:  "We don’t want to let people go in our state, we don’t want to coddle people, but we also don’t want to kill people if one of the factors that plays into killing them is race discrimination."

So far, four death row inmates in North Carolina have had their sentences commuted with help from the Racial Justice Act.

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