Local News

Cumberland County Gang Member Continues Testimony Despite Motion for Mistrial

Posted March 12, 2000

— A former gang member continued her testimony against two defendants in a high-profile double murder trial Monday.

Ione Black, one of nine people charged in the abduction and shooting of three women, told jurors how defendant Eric Queen ordered her to kidnap a woman and take her car, and how defendant Francisco "Paco" Tirado was eager to be a gunman.

"I remember her saying stuff like, 'Don't hurt me' and "I've got two kids." She said, 'Take my money, you've already got my car,'" recounts Black of victim Debra Cheeseborough.

Even with her pleas, members of the gang did not let Cheeseborough go. Black went on to tell jurors about the night the woman was shot and left for dead.

"They were arguing who is going to kill her, who is going to shoot her. I remember hearing Paco say, 'I'll shoot you,'" says Black.Black says one of the female gang members ended up pulling the trigger, but says Queen was present.

Black also told jurors Tirado painted the bullets blue the night before the shootings. The state says blue bullets were found in the victims.

In testimony Tuesday, Black is expected to tie Queen and Tirado to the killings of Tracy Lambert and Susan Moore. The men are charged with abducting and murdering the women as part of an initiation into the Crips gang.

Jurors were temporarily excused from the courtroom Monday morning as defense lawyers argued that the judge should declare a mistrial.

The judge was displeased last week that admitted gang member Ione Black's plea bargain agreement had not been passed along from the prosecution to the defense.

A recess had been declared last week so that the defense could prepare for cross-examination with the new information in hand.

Monday morning, the defense team sought to have a mistrial declared, citing the state's failure to disclose the agreement. They also argued that if a mistrial were not declared, then Black's evidence should be stricken, along with any physical evidence that might have been introduced through her testimony. The judge allowed Black to resume her testimony, and the trial got under way about noon. andMichelle Singer


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