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Grief Turns to Anger as Families of Murder Victims Wait for Justice

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PINEHURST — Time may heal all wounds, but two decades of waiting for closure never really lets the healing begin.

A Moore County family is still waiting.

A death row case being weighed by theNorth Carolina Supreme Courtcould add even more years to their painful story.

Diane Chalflinch and her nine-year-old daughter Christine were murdered 18 years ago. Their family is waiting for justice. Their killer is waiting to die.

David Junior Brown, who now calls himself Dawud Abdullah Muhammed, was sentenced to die for the murders. He's still sitting on death row.

His execution is on hold until the State Supreme Court makes a ruling on another death row case. It is a decision that could add years of life to other killers sentenced to die.

"I am not only frustrated, I am mad as hell," says Larry Frye, Diane Chalflinch's brother.

Frye's grief has turned to anger. His sister and his niece were killed in 1980.

The constant delay in Brown's execution has caused surviving family members constant anguish. It took Diane's mother six years to drive by the employee quarters at the Pinehurst Hotel where the murders occurred. More than 18 years later, they still hope for closure.

"It has put me in depression to the point where I am not certain whether they care or are concerned about what the living victims have to say about this at all," says Frye. "If they did, I don't think it would take 18 and a half years to resolve."

It may take even longer than that. Monday, the State Supreme Court heard arguments in the death row case of Harvey Lee Green.

Green was sentenced to die in 1983. Now, his attorneys are trying to use a 1996 state law to grant him a new hearing.

The law was designed to speed up the process of appeals, but critics say it actually slows them down.

If the Supreme Court rules in Green's favor, several of the state's 187 death row inmates, including Brown, may be granted new hearings and more time to live.

Larry Frye says he has already had enough.

"Knowing how these lawyers work, they will stretch it out, anything they can find," says Frye. "They will argue even if they throw it out, even if it's not applicable they will still bring it up to give him another day to live."

"There's no evidence this lengthens it at all," says State SenatorWib Gulleywho authored the amendment.

Gulley says many of the more recent cases will move along quicker.

But that brings no relief to Larry Frye who has spent several hours every day of his adult life trying to move the Brown's case along.

"I will never, ever, ever, let this go," says Frye. "I want him that dead because he took two people in my family."

In court Monday, lawyers for theNorth Carolina Attorney General's Officeargued the law was only meant to be used in new cases.

Green's attorneys say the law should be retroactive because theGeneral Assemblychose not to add that wording into the amendment.

The Supreme Court is not expected to make a decision for several months.