US student murder suspect can face death penalty
Superior Court judge rules prosecutors can pursue death penalty against suspected killer of 3 Muslim students.

A judge in the state of North Carolina ruled Monday that prosecutors could pursue the death penalty against the alleged killer of three Muslim students in Chapel Hill.

Durham County Assistant District Attorney Jim Dornfried said Craig Stephen Hicks took a gun from inside his home Feb. 10 and went to his neighbors’ door and had an exchange with Deah Shaddy Barakat.

Dornfried said Hick pulled out his concealed gun and first shot Barakat, then shot Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, Barakat’s wife, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.

The two women were still alive when Hicks shot them again in the head and fired at Barakat on the way out of the apartment, according to Dornfried.

Shortly after the shooting, police said the killings appeared to have been motivated by a dispute about parking spaces at the apartment complex where Hicks lives, along with the victims.

The victims' families have contended that they were targeted because they were Muslims and have pushed for hate-crime charges.

The FBI is also conducting an investigation to determine if a hate crime was committed.

Last Modified: 2015-04-07 08:45:23
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