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FAYETTEVILLE, NC (AP) — Hearings have been scheduled to determine whether three people convicted of Fayetteville-area killings can be taken off North Carolina’s death row under the Racial Justice Act.

The Fayetteville Observer reports that Cumberland County Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Greg Weeks denied prosecutors’ requests to delay the hearings, which are set to begin October 1.

The inmates are seeking to have their death sentences lessened to life in prison under the Racial Justice Act, which allows appeals if racial bias during the trial is proved.

They are Tilmon Golphin, a 34-year-old black man; Quintel Augustine, a 34-year-old black man; and Christina Walters, a 33-year-old American Indian woman.

Earlier this year, Marcus Reymond Robinson of Fayetteville became the first prisoner to be removed from death row under the law.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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