Cumberland County judge to request change in case involving 4 death row inmates

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – A Cumberland County judge will request another judge preside over a case involving four death row inmates.

In 2012, now retired Superior Court Judge Greg Weeks commuted the sentences of four death row inmates under the Racial Justice Act but his ruling was later overturned by the North Carolina Supreme Court.

At Thursday’s hearing, defense attorney’s requested Cumberland County Senior Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons recuse himself from the case.

Attorney’s accused Ammons of racial bias in the past.

“Judge Ammons would have been a witness to any proceedings going forward, and it would help matters to have a judge whose never been a prosecutor in Cumberland County to hear these cases,” said attorney Jay Ferguson.

The hearing lasted for nearly three hours.

Ammons denied the defense attorney’s motion for recusal but said due to the continued burden of uncertainty and toll of time for all parties involved, he would request that another judge preside over the case.

“I will not allow my properly presiding over any of these cases, continue to be an issue, when the courts true task should be determining the merits of these claims,” Ammons said.

Shirley Buris’ son Marcus Robinson was convicted of murdering a teenager in 1991.

She said her son does not deserve to die.

I don’t think it’s right to judge people but I think it’s best for everyone involved,” Buris said.

On the other hand, Al Lowry said justice is way overdue.

His brother Ed was a Highway Patrolman when he was murdered by two brothers, Kevin and Tilmon Goplin in 1997.

“It don’t matter what judge is gonna be picked, they’re always going to find an excuse that something was not done right,” Lowry said.

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