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Execution Dates Set for 2 Inmates

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The ongoing controversy over the death penalty in North Carolina has not stopped the state from scheduling two executions next month.

Tuesday, Correction Department officials scheduled Archie Lee Billings to die at Central Prison on March 2 and Allen R. Holman Sr. on March 9.

Billings, 33, was sentenced to death in 1996, in Caswell County Superior Court for the first-degree murder of Amy Jackson. He also had been convicted of first-degree rape, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to inflict serious injury and first-degree burglary.

The state Supreme Court upheld Billings' conviction and death sentence in 1998, and the U.S. Supreme Court denied Billings' appeal last month.

Holman, 47, was sentenced to death in 1998 in Wake County Superior Court for the first-degree murder of Linda Holman.

The state Supreme Court affirmed Holman's conviction in 2005, he decided not to appeal, and a federal judge ruled in December that he was mentally competent to withdraw his appeals.

A Wake County Superior Court judge recently put three executions on hold because of an apparent conflict between the state execution protocol that requires a doctor’s presence and a State Medical Board ruling that doctor’s cannot participate.

The Council of State approved a new protocol Feb. 6 that changes the role of doctors but still involves them. Gov. Mike Easley said he expected the matter would be back in court.

Attorney General Roy Cooper said after the vote that he would not bring the matter back before the judge until he discusses the protocol with the Medical Board.

Sen. Phil Berger, R-Guilford, filed a bill Feb. 8 that would protect doctors who take part in executions. His bill came a day after Sen Ellie Kinaird, D-Orange, a longtime death penalty opponent, asked for a moratorium while the lethal injection process is studied.

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