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DA: Man accused of 2015 Chapel Hill triple shooting will not face death penalty

April 11, 2019 GMT

The man accused of shooting and killing Deah Barakat, his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, and her sister, Razan, in Chapel Hill in 2015, will not face the death penalty, according to the Durham district attorney.

On Feb. 10, 2015, Craig Hicks went to a neighbor’s condo and shot the three to death, according to Chapel Hill police. Hicks is still awaiting trial on his murder charges.

Investigators said the shooting stemmed from a dispute, but family members believe it was a hate crime because they were Muslim.

According to a statement released Thursday from Satana Deberry, the Durham district attorney, Hicks will be tried on the first-degree murder charges in July.

“The longer we delay the trial of Mr. Hicks, the longer we bring additional suffering to the Barakat and Abu-Salha families. To insure we are able to bring this case to trial as quickly as possible and help begin the process of healing for the families, I have decided to try this case as a non-capital case,” the statement said.

Earlier this week, Dr. Mohammad Abu-Salah, from Clayton, traveled to Washington, D.C., to speak to a Congressional committee about the 2015 slayings.

“We miss our children so much,” Abu-Salah said. “At times, the pain is just as sharp now as when they died, and I ask you, I truly plead to you, not to let another American family go through this because our government would not act to protect all Americans. Please remember them -- Deah, Yusor and Razan -- they are my children and they are gone.”

After their deaths, Abu-Salha says social media was filled with hate.

“There was a tweet that said, ‘three down, 1.6 billion to go,’” he said.

Deberry’s statement referenced Abu-Salha’s testimony.

“Just this week, Dr. Abu-Salha...testified to Congress on the murders of his children. Even as he poured out his grief to his fellow Americans, the YouTube Live feed of his testimony was interrupted by racist and anti-Muslim slurs,” she said.

Deberry went on to say these views are not a representation of Durham or her office.