Women plead guilty in case where 2 men were burned alive in car trunk

MORGANTON, N.C. — Two women pleaded guilty Friday afternoon to a gruesome double homicide.

Sheriff deputies found the bodies of two cousins in a car that was set on fire north of Morganton in 2016.

The men were alive when the fire was set, according to investigators.

Some family members stormed out of the courtroom as one of the women tried to apologize.

[PAST COVERAGE: Man charged with murder after bodies found in burned car, deputies say]

It took days for deputies to identify the two men who were found in the trunk of the burned-out car as Albert Austin and his cousin Jermaine Murry.

His family brought photos of the men and pictures of their children to court for the judge to see.

“I would like to know why. And I wish they would have thought about what they were doing before they (did) it because it’s changed our lives,” a former girlfriend of one of the victims said.

“It’s just hard, and I’m glad they got who they got for it,” the mother of one of the victim's said.

Icey Gooden and Brandy Davis admitted their involvement in the case in the courtroom.

Prosecutors said Gooden, who knew the victims, lured them to Burke County where prosecutors said they were robbed and killed by her boyfriend and Davis. Some family members left as prosecutors told the judge the men were forced into the trunk at gunpoint before the car was set on fire.

“After the vehicle was set on fire, the two victims were kicking and screaming in the trunk,” Assistant District Attorney Michelle Lippert said. “It looks like Brandy Davis looked into the rearview mirror as the flames engulfed the car.”

Gooden pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon.  Minutes later, Davis also pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact of murder. Gooden fought back tears and apologized to the judge.

“I’m not that kind of person,” Gooden said. “I’m sorry.”

There was not a sentencing hearing Friday, because the women may first have to testify against the men accused of the robbery and setting the fire.

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