A landmark act in North Carolina that allowed convicted murderers to fight their death sentences if they could prove racial bias is officially gone.
Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill Wednesday to repeal the Racial Justice Act.
Dee Sumpter said her daughter was the third victim in a serial killer's murder spree.
It changed Sumpter's life. She started a movement called Mothers' of Murdered Offspring and she said the new bill will strengthen their cause.
"Here I sit today, 20 years later. It still hurts so terribly," Sumpter said.
After all this time, Sumpter still grieves the loss of her daughter Shawna, while her convicted killer, Henry Wallace's death sentence stalled after he appealed under the Racial Justice Act.
"People say, 'But Dee, the death penalty?' Yes, the death penalty, justice must be served," she said.
Wallace confessed to brutally killing nine women in the 1990s including Shawna, but then used the act to claim that race unfairly played a role in his sentencing.
Sumpter said the state's new bill repealing the act gives her confidence that Wallace will eventually pay for his crimes.
"Today with what McCrory has signed off on it's a hope-filled day," she said. "I am for equal justice, don't want anyone to die unjustly but if it is proven you did not do the crime."
Over the years, Sumpter has worked to help other mothers by forming the group Mothers of Murdered Offspring trying to stop the violence and find some sense of closure.
She calls this move a big step.
"This road of justice, I'm on it and I'll stay on it until its served and I will not give up," Sumpter said.
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina calls the bill repealing the racial justice act "beyond tragic," and said the capital punishment process is plagued by racial bias and other flaws that might well lead to the execution of innocent people.