US prosecutors to seek death penalty in murder of Muslims

A North Carolina district attorney will seek death penalty against man charged in murder of three Muslim students

US prosecutors to seek death penalty in murder of Muslims

World Bulletin / News Desk

U.S. prosecutors will seek the death penalty against a man charged with killing three Muslim students in a North Carolina residential complex, local media reported Monday.

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, is accused of killing Deah Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, near the University of North Carolina on Feb. 10 in the town of Chapel Hill.

According to court documents, Hicks kept pictures and detailed notes on parking activity in the Finley Forest Condominiums where the triple homicide occurred, said the News & Observer newspaper in Raleigh.

He kept the parking lot information in one of two desktop computers seized from the complex, it said.

An initial police investigation pointed to "an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking" as the motive behind the killings, but the FBI announced it launched a separate hate crime inquiry.

On Feb. 16, a Durham County grand jury filed three counts of murder and one count of discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling against Hicks.

According to newspaper, Durham District Attorney Roger Echol filed notice in court files that he would seek the death penalty against the accused.

A hearing will be held in April where Echol will be asked to present evidence to a judge.

The shooting in Chapel Hill sent shockwaves across the U.S. Muslim community and triggered broad speculation about whether religious hatred motivated the murders.

Deah, a second-year student at the University of North Carolina’s School of Dentistry, and Yusor, who was to start at the same school this fall, were newlyweds. Razan, also a student at North Carolina State University, was her sister.

The family of the victims branded the incident a hate crime, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights organization, urged authorities to examine a possible bias motive for the killings.

A Facebook page in Hicks’ name reportedly showed he described himself as a "gun-toting" atheist and "anti-theist," and frequently posted comments against organized religion. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Mart 2015, 09:49