AP: Man indicted on 3 counts of murder in NC deaths of Muslims


Caskets are carried into a public funeral for Deah Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, 21,and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19 on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 at the Islamic Association of Raleigh’s cemetery in Wendell, N.C. Barakat and his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were killed in a shooting Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 in Chapel Hill, N.C. (Corey Lewenstein/News & Observer/TNS)

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — A grand jury in North Carolina indicted a man Monday on three counts of murder in the shootings of three young Muslims in what authorities have said was a dispute over parking spaces.

Television stations WRAL and WTVD reported a grand jury in Durham County handed up the indictments Monday for 46-year-old Craig Hicks.

No one answered a phone call from The Associated Press at the courthouse, which closed midday for an impending ice and snowstorm.

Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21; and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were all found dead in their Chapel Hill condominium last week. Hicks was their neighbor, and others who lived nearby said he had frequent problems with where people parked in the complex near the University of North Carolina.

Police in Chapel Hill have said they have not uncovered any evidence Hicks acted out of hatred for his neighbor’s faith, but their investigation continues. The FBI is also investigating.

Hicks, 46, is scheduled to be in court on the murder charges March 4.

Hicks described himself online as a “gun toting” atheist. Search warrants listed a dozen firearms taken from his home, including four handguns, two shotguns and six rifles — as well as a large amount of ammunition. He was carrying a pistol when he turned himself in several hours after the Feb. 10 shooting.

Family members of the victims have said they were executed with shots to the back of the head. Police have not discussed specifics on how they were killed.

Hicks remains in jail without bond. His court-appointed lawyer, Stephen Freedman, has said he could not comment on the case.

Suspect in shooting of 3 students had 13 guns, stash of ammo 

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Search warrants show Hicks had a stash of a dozen firearms, along with a large cache of ammunition, in the home he shared with his wife.

Records filed in Durham County Superior Court on Friday list items recovered by police from Hick’s Chapel Hill. The warrants show four handguns recovered from the Hicks home, in addition to a pistol the suspect had with him when arrested. The warrants also list two shotguns and six rifles, including a military-style AR-15 carbine. Police also recovered numerous loaded magazines and cases of ammunition.

Eight spent shell-casings were found in the neighboring apartment of the young couple killed.

College killings bear symptoms of hate crime 

The leader of the world’s largest bloc of Muslim countries says the slaying of three college students in North Carolina has raised international concerns about “rising anti-Muslim sentiments and Islamophobic acts” in the United States.

According to a press release Saturday from the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Secretary General Iyad Madani calls on the U.S. government to take more steps to protect against “stereotyping, discrimination and profiling.” Madani welcomed the FBI’s investigation into the case and praised President Barack Obama for comments condemning the targeting of people for how they worship.

Police are investigating whether the killings were a hate crime, as the victims’ family members contend. The OIC release says Madani thanks the American people for “rejecting the murder which bear the symptoms of a hate crime.”

MICHAEL BIESECKER and JONATHAN DREW of the Associated Press contributed to reporting.