North Carolina man may face death penalty in Muslim students' slayings

Prosecutors plan to seek death penalty against Craig Hicks in North Carolina shootings of Muslim students

Prosecutors in North Carolina plan to seek the death penalty for a man charged with shooting and killing three Muslim students in an apartment complex parking lot last month. 

A spokeswoman for Durham County Superior Court confirmed Dist. Atty. Roger Echols' office will try Craig Hicks on capital murder charges in the fatal shootings of Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife, Yusor Mohammad, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, in a Chapel Hill, N.C., neighborhood. All three attended college in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina. 

Hicks is being held on three counts of first degree murder and Echols' office is still weighing possible hate crime charges. The families of the students have called the slayings a hate crime. 

The local television affiliate WTVD tweeted a photo of a document it said was filed by Echols on Wednesday that stated his office would seek the death penalty. 

Law enforcement officials have said the incident was spurred by an ongoing dispute over a parking space. 

Some neighbors have described Hicks as an angry, hulking figure who exploded in rage over parking spaces and noise in a neighborhood where parking is at a premium in the evenings.

A Facebook profile with Craig Hicks’ name and photo paints a portrait of a man who shared anti-Muslim and anti-Christian posts and links.

“I have every right to insult a religion that goes out of its way to insult, to judge, and to condemn me as an inadequate human being — which your religion does with self-righteous gusto,” it says under the “religious views” portion of the profile, not indicating whether it’s talking about a particular faith. The profile says Hicks studied at Durham Technical Community College to be a paralegal and that, “Some call me a gun toting Liberal, others call me an open-minded Conservative.”

Follow @kurtisalee and email

Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World