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Fayetteville Gang Members Sentenced to Death

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FAYETTEVILLE — Two Cumberland County gang members will die for killing two women and seriously injuring a third victim as part of a gang initiation.

Francisco "Paco" Tirado, 19, and Eric Queen, 21, were sentenced to death late Tuesday afternoon.

Family members of Tracy Lambert and Susan Moore cried quietly as the sentences were read. They say justice has been served.

"They had no right to take my daughter's life and they had no right to take Susan's life for material things for their own personal gain -- I don't think so," said Elizabeth Lambert, the mother of victim Tracy Lambert.

Queen held his head low as he was sentenced to die. His attorney says he has remorse for the victims' families and his own.

"I think with a tear in his eye, he said ' I wish I could take it all back, relive the moment,'" said defense attorney Jack Carter.

It appeared Tirado felt no guilt, even chuckling when sentenced by Cumberland County Superior Court Judge William Gore Jr.

His attorneys say they are upset over the short amount of time it took jurors to sentence the men to die: 90 minutes for Tirado and 55 minutes for Queen.

"I too am concerned that it didn't take them long to come to the verdict," said defense attorney George Franks.

Debra Cheeseborough, who was shot and left for dead, says she has waited long enough to see this day. She is happy with the death sentences, but says the end will not come soon enough.

"They didn't get shot seven times that night or shot in the head," said Cheeseborough. "They'll get three meals a day, they'll be watching TV."

Because they were each convicted of two murders, both Tirado and Queen were given the death penalty twice.

The first of nine co-defendants to be tried in the case, Tirado and Queen were found guilty last week of randomly abducting and killing Tracy Lambert, 19, and Susan Moore, 25, in 1998, as part of an initiation into the Crips gang. The killings were carried out with bullets painted the Crips' signature blue.

Tirado and Queen will await their punishment at Raleigh's Central Prison.

Cheeseborough and the victim's families must go through seven more trials.

"They all need to go down. They were out there. Not one of them stopped it," said Lambert.

After the trial was over, the judge informed jurors of a death threat made against them shortly after the verdicts were read in the guilt or innocence phase. The judge says they showed no reaction, but chose not to make any comments to the media.

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Melissa Buscher, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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