DURHAM, NC – Moments after a North American man claimed to be awarding three Muslim university students, one prosecutor played a cell phone video of slayings in court on Wednesday as one of the victim's relatives fainted, others cried and a man cursed it Recognized killer open.
Craig Stephen Hicks, 50, blamed three counts of first-degree murder more than four years after the death in February 2015 and two months after the incoming district attorney put Satana Deberry's plans to seek the death penalty hoping to end one The case she said had expired too long.
"I've wanted to be guilty since day one," Hicks said to judge Orlando Hudson. Hudson sentenced Hicks to three consecutive living conditions without parole, thanking for another five years to shoot into a building.
Hicks broke into a Chapel Hill apartment owned by 23-year-old Deah Barakat and killed Barakat, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and the woman's 19-year-old sister Razan Abu-Salha.
At that time, the Chapel Hill police said that Hicks claimed he was provoked by competition over parking spaces at the complex where they lived. Relatives said the victims were targeting Muslims and asked federal authorities to practice hate crime.
The authorities later showed that they had insufficient evidence to successfully prosecute Hicks for hate crimes, said Joe Cheshire, a lawyer for the victims' families. He said officials could not overcome Hick's initial statement that the violence was provoked by a parking lot dispute.
Family members and prosecutors spent mostly two hours of hearing that told the judge that Hicks was motivated by bigotry against non-white people. Hicks showed up a gun in the hip when he wanted to scare his Korean neighbor, a black remodel and his possible victim, said district lawyer Satana Deberry.
An aggressive atheist, Hicks also expressed disgust for Christians and Jews.  "You played in the hands of the worst religious people – the fanatics, the radicals – who want to throw this world," Muhammad Abu-Salha, the woman's father, told Hicks in court. The murder was part of raising hatred for Muslims, he said.
The court showed a video image confession. Hicks told the police that, after taking his gun and extra bullets and pounding at the neighbor's door, he lost control when Barakat cursed him. "I was wrong, I overreacted," Hicks told interrogators.
That account is contradicted by a mobile video, shown in court, where Barakat records his own death.
The video reels when Barakat approaches the door to record the exchange with his often cute neighbor. He hoped there could be evidence of a legal restraint order to keep him away, Cheshire said.
With the parents of the victims and siblings, the video showed that Hicks complained about Barakat and the Abu-Salha sisters used three parking spaces. Prosecutors said it was not true. When Barakat replied, they used no more space than condo rules allowed, Hicks replied, "You will be disrespectful to me, I will be disrespectful …" Hicks pulled a gun out of his waist and fired several times.
The phone dropped. The sounds of women screaming can be heard, followed by several more shots. Silence.
Women cried openly in the courtroom and a young man cursed Hicks. Barakat's older sister, Dr. Suzanne Barakat, fainted. She later appeared at a press conference with family members and a lawyer said she was okay.
"In 36 seconds, Hicks performed three people," said Assistant District Attorney Kendra Montgomery-Blinn.
Hicks said in his confession that when the women were wounded, he shot both his head up close. Autopsy results confirmed his description.
Barakat, a dentist at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Yusor Abu-Salha had been married for less than two months and she had just been admitted to the dentist. Razan had just made a dean list at North Carolina State University. Barakat and the Abu-Salha sisters had cooked for the homeless, worked to improve a poor Raleigh neighborhood and planned a trip to Turkey to help Syrian war flights, Montgomery-Blinn said.
Prosecutors and family members opposed academic and humanitarian work with those killed with Hicks. An ex-wife told Prosecutor Hicks was fixed in 1993 the Michael Douglas film Falling Down about a frustrated and unemployed white man who responds to personal and social dysfunction with increasing violence.
Hicks third marriage disintegrated and he recently completed his job with an auto party company in anger, Montgomery-Blinn said. Workers there described him as constantly playing computer sniper games, she said.
Hicks listened carefully all the time, his hands shackled.
Former US lawyer Ripley Rand said on Wednesday that his office had not decided to pursue hate crimes to Hicks when he resigned before the upcoming Trump administration in 2017. The federal hate crime constitution requires lawyers to consider the outcome of the state trial when exercising them. fees, he said. It was "no further punishment he could have received that would have meant anything," said Rand.
Spokesman Kelly Laco, the Justice Department, declined views on hate crime.
Cheshire said the families were not happy with the lack of prosecution.
"It hurt a lot of emotions and it added to the false story," he said. "Our government failed with this family and our multicultural democracy."
Follow Emery P. Dalesio on Twitter at http://twitter.com/emerydalesio. His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/emery%20dalesio.
Associated Press author Martha Wagoner contributed to this report.