Now that the closing arguments have been heard for the Racial Justice Act appeals in Fayetteville, we will be waiting for another one or two months for the ruling. Christina Walters, Tilmon Golphin, and Quintel Augustine are convicted murders who have been sentenced to death. Each believes that race played a factor in their sentences. While these three are getting publicity, the victims and their families are longing for loved ones who do not have a voice.
Prosecutors said Christina Walters was the ringleader of a gang group that kidnapped three women, killing two and wounding the third. Walters was indicted in 1999 on two counts each of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, and robbery with a dangerous weapon, as well as one count each of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree kidnapping, and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon. In a second indictment issued in 1999, Walters was also indicted for attempted first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, first-degree kidnapping, and robbery with a dangerous weapon. Walters was found guilty of all charges and sentenced to death. Walters is an American Indian. The murder victims were Tracy Rose Lambert and Susan Raye Moore, both white. The other kidnapping victim, Deborah Cheeseborough, survived being shot seven times and left for dead. She is black.
Tilmon Golphin and his brother Kevin were convicted of gunning down two law enforcement officers in 1997 after their stolen car was pulled over on Interstate 95. The Golphins are black and the lawmen were white. Kevin was not sentenced to death because he was younger than 18 at the time of the murder.
In 2001, Quintel Augustine was part of a group of four who taunted Fayetteville Police Officer Roy Turner Jr. Augustine fatally shot the officer in the head once he got out of his car. Augustine is black – so was Turner. Prior to being convicted of murder, Augustine was found guilty of three felonies – possession of a firearm by a felon, felony breaking and entering, and larceny after breaking and entering.
The families of the victims now have to relive all the details of the deaths because the convicted murders believe that their race played a role in their sentencing — regardless of the race of the victims. The Fayetteville Observer captured some of the victims’ families’ testimony, outlined below.
Olivia and Roy Turner, the parents of Roy Turner Jr., had an assistant district attorney read a letter to the judge to their son’s killer, Augustine. The Fayetteville Observer reported that the letter said, “(t)he bullet that killed Turner wasn’t guided by color nor did it matter to you that race of the police officer. Whether black, white, Hispanic or other, that officer would have died by your hand on that night.”
Golphin and his brother, who are black, killed Cumberland County Deputy Sheriff David Hathcock and State Trooper Ed Lowry, who both were white.
Kevin Hathcock, son of murdered Deputy David Hathcock, said he is sad that his children never got to meet their grandfather. “I write letters to my father, knowing he can’t get them. But I take them to the grave site,” Hathcock said.
Dixie Lowry Davis, Ed Lowry’s widow, spoke also, the newspaper reported. “My heart breaks for the Lambert and Moore families, whose daughters were killed as they begged for their life,” she said. “Gang members executed them as part of an initiation. Their murders chosen at random, for fun. They killed them for fun.” The gang members also argued after they murdered the two young women about who would get to keep the women’s clothing.
The day their loved ones died will stay etched in their relatives’ minds forever. We often just hear the story about the murderer and of how they supposedly were not treated fairly, it is time to know who the real victims are.