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Opening statements in Racial Justice Act cases

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) - Defense attorneys say race was a significant factor in the death sentences given to two black men and one American Indian woman convicted of murder.

The three are using the Racial Justice Act to try to get their death sentences reduced to life in prison. The act allows that reduction if it can be shown racial bias was a factor in a death sentence.

Attorney James Ferguson said Monday in Cumberland County court that statistics, history, anecdotes and trial records will show bias. Prosecutor Rob Thompson argued that the jury selections had no racial bias and that a lead prosecutor from the time led anti-racism training in the Air Force.

The inmates are Tilmon Golphin, Quintel Augustine and Christina Walters.

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Information from: The Fayetteville Observer, http://www.fayobserver.com

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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