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Snag Delays Fayetteville Murder Trial

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FAYETTEVILLE — Opening arguments have been delayed in the trial of two men charged with murdering two women as part of a gang initiation -- because no one remembered to fetch the defendants to court.

A recent jail fire caused all inmates to be transferred to other facilities. Most of them were brought back to Cumberland County last week.

Eric Devon Queen and Francisco Tirado, who are charged with abducting and murdering two Cumberland County women as part of an initiation into the Crips gang, were left in the interim facility.

Cumberland Chief Deputy Cuyler Windham said the staff forgot to go get them for court this morning.

By noon, the defendants had been picked up and were in the courtroom.

Opening arguments were delayed again, however, as Judge William Gore, Jr., was asked to put off trial for one more week.

Despite the possibility that a jury member might need medical attention later this week, Gore ruled that the opening arguments will get under way this afternoon.

Queen and Tirado are accused in the deaths of Tracy Lambert and Susan Moore. A third victim, Debra Cheeseborough, was abducted and shot but survived. Police have said the women were chosen at random.

The acts of alleged gang violence that surround the case sent shockwaves throughout the community.

Bullets used to shoot each woman in the head were painted with blue nail polish, said to be the gang's signature color.

Queen and Tirado are also charged with various other crimes, including the attempted murder of Cheeseborough. She is expected to testify in the trial.

If convicted, both suspects could be sentenced to death.

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Melissa Buscher, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
Kay Miller, Web Editor

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