Local News

Survivor of Abduction, Shooting Testifies in Double Murder Trial

Posted March 6, 2000

— A Cumberland County woman who was shot several times and left to die faced her accused attackers in a Fayetteville courtroom.

For nearly three hours Tuesday, Debra Cheeseborough relived for jurors her random abduction and the moments after being shot.

Eric Queen and Francisco "Paco" Tirado are the first of nine defendants to go on trial. They are all charged in the shootings the state claims were part of a gang initiation.

Cheeseborough, one of three women abducted and shot, is the only survivor. Tracy Lambert and Susan Moore were killed.

Cheeseborough says she cannot identify her attackers because they were all wearing bandanas, but she says she will never forget what they did to her.

Cheeseborough fought back tears as she described what happened as she left work one night in August 1998.

"He said to me, if I cooperate he wouldn't hurt me," she told the court.

Cheeseborough told jurors she was in the trunk of her own car when she overheard voices talking about what would be done to her when one of the suspects realized he went to school with her daughter.

She went on to demonstrate how close she was to her attackers when she was shot all over her body.

In heart-wrenching detail, she told the jury how she was left to die in the woods on Fort Bragg.

Alone in the woods, she says she heard her the voice of her deceased mother. Scared and in pain, Cheeseborough believes it was her mother who got her to safety.

"She told me that it wasn't my time yet," says Cheeseborough. "She told me she was going to help me get to the road, but not too close where someone could hit me."

Forensic evidence was presented to jurors after Cheeseborough's testimony ended.


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