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Ex-soldier gets life for racial murders

WILMINGTON, N.C., May 12 -- A North Carolina jury has sentenced former Fort Bragg soldier Malcolm Wright to life in prison for the racially-motivated murder of a black couple. A jury of six men and six women deliberated just over an hour today (Monday) before recommending two life prison terms with no parole.

The 23-year-old Wright was convicted earlier this month of killing Michael James and Jackie Burden Dec. 7, 1995, as part of a skinhead initiation rite. Prosecutors had sought the death penalty against Wright, arguing he had shown no remorse for the crime. District Attorney Ed Grannis said during arguments Friday, 'There is nothing that justifies saving the life of Malcolm Wright.' Another soldier, James Burmeister, was convicted of the murders in March and also was sentenced to life in prison. A third soldier, Randy Meadows, testified against Wright and Burmeister as part of a plea bargain with the state. Superior Court Judge Coy Brewer will sentence Meadows Tuesday. During the week-long sentencing phase of Wright's trial, his former fiancee testified he had told her about killing a man in Florida two month before Burden and James were shot to death on a dark street in downtown Fayetteville, N.C. ---

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