Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were devout Muslims
Both Yusor and Razan wore head scarves
Police say that killings were not about the victims’ faith but a dispute over parking
All of the victims’ cars were parked properly when they were killed – despite claims a parking dispute was to blame
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER and ASSOCIATED PRESS
Prosecutors in North Carolina will seek the death penalty for a man who admitted to gunning down three Muslim students.
The announcement today comes as a report from the New York Times reveals that friends of the murdered students in Chapel Hill believe killer Craig Stephen Hicks had become ‘obsessed’ with one of his victims because of the head scarf she wore every day as a sign of her faith.
Hicks, 46, was charged with killing 23-year-old Deah Shaddy Barakat, a dental student at the University of North Carolina; his wife, 21-year-old Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, who had recently been accepted to the dental program; and her sister, 19-year-old Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, a North Carolina State University student, on February 10.
If you look at Deah, he looks like your average white guy. But Yusor wears the head scarf. And so does Razan.
Hicks’ wife held a press conference shortly after the murders to say that the killings were not a hate crime and that they were a result of a dispute over parking.
However, Hicks posted on his social media about his atheism and his disdain for religion.
And friends of the victims told the Times that he had become obsessed with Barakat and Abu-Salha – especially Abu Salha.
‘If you look at Deah, he looks like your average white guy. But Yusor wears the head scarf. And so does Razan,’ Nida Allam, a friend of the victims, told the Times.
The revelation comes as the Times reports that the victims’ cars were all parked correctly in the apartment complex where they lived on the night of the attack.
According to the newspaper, Barakat’s car was parked in his assigned spot and he had taken the bus to class that day. Abu-Salha’s car was in a space where she was allowed to park – and not in Hicks’ spot.
When Razan Abu-Salha came to visit, she parked on the street – after be warned by Barakat about disputes with their neighbors over parking.
Hicks appears in court over murder of 3 Muslim students
The victims’ families have said religious bias helped inflame what might have stopped at shouting into bloodshed.
The FBI is conducting what it’s called a ‘parallel preliminary inquiry’ to the homicide investigation to determine whether any hate-crime or other federal laws were violated.
Search warrants filed by Chapel Hill police said Barakat was shot in the head near the entrance to his condo. The two women were found in or near the kitchen, police said.
Family members said they were told by police that all three victims were shot in the head, though police have refused to specify how the victims died. Eight spent shell-casings were found at the crime scene, investigators said.
Earlier search warrants listed a dozen firearms recovered from the condo unit Hicks shared with his wife, in addition to the handgun the suspect had with him when he turned himself in after the shootings.
Hicks, who was unemployed and studying to become a paralegal, posted online that he was a staunch advocate of the constitutional right to bear arms.
Neighbors described him as an angry man in frequent confrontations over parking or loud music, often with a gun holstered at the hip. His social media posts often discussed firearms, including a photo posted of a .38-caliber revolver.