Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for the man charged with the killings of three Arab-American students in a Chapel Hill, N.C., apartment complex, the district attorney’s office handling the case said Monday.
The suspect, Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, turned himself into a sheriff’s office shortly after 6 p.m. on Feb. 10. That was less than an hour after police found the bodies of Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21; her husband, Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.
Roger Echols, the Durham County district attorney, notified Judge Orlando F. Hudson on Wednesday of his intention to seek capital punishment, according to a document filed with the Superior Court.
A hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to pursue a death-penalty case was scheduled for Monday. That hearing was postponed because of a scheduling conflict in the district attorney’s office, said the office’s administrative assistant, Candy Clark. A new date has not been set, but is expected in early April.
Mr. Hicks has confessed to murder, but the police will not say if he offered more details or a motive, said Lt. Joshua Mecimore, spokesman for the Chapel Hill Police Department. The police executing a search warrant found 12 firearms, including four pistols and a Bushmaster AR-15, in the apartment Mr. Hicks shared with his wife.
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SOURCE: NY Times, Jonathan M. Katz