Candles are seen as a group of demonstrators gather in front of American Embassy in Amman to protest against the Chapel Hill shooting, in Amman, Jordan on Feb. 16, 2015.
Photo by Shadi Nsoor/Anadolu Agency/Getty

DA seeks death penalty in Chapel Hill shooting of Muslim students


A district attorney in North Carolina will seek the death penalty for the man accused of killing three young Muslim-Americans near the University of North Carolina in February, an administrative assistant confirmed to msnbc on Monday.

Durham County District Attorney Roger Echols on Feb. 25 filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against the suspect, Craig Hicks, 46, of Chapel Hill, the assistant, Candy Clark, told msnbc. A hearing is expected in early April.

RELATED: Man charged with murder of three people near UNC

Hicks has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his three neighbors. A Durham County grand jury also indicted Hicks on one count of discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling.

2/17/15, 10:10 AM ET

Americans demand hate crime investigation into Chapel Hill shooting

Host Maria Teresa Kumar talks to Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, about the killing of three Muslim American students in North Carolina. Why haven’t the killings been called a hate crime? And what can you do if you’re being targeted?
The victims, Deah Barakat, 23; his new wife Yusor Abu-Salha, 21; and his sister-in-law Razan Abu-Salha, 19, were found at an apartment complex on Feb. 10 by officers who responded to reports of gunfire.

A preliminary investigation of the shooting deaths suggested the slayings were motivated by an ongoing parking dispute. The victims’ families, however, insist Hicks had racially-motivated intentionsThe FBI opened a parallel inquiry to determine whether any federal laws were violated. Investigators haven’t ruled out classifying the killings as a hate crime.

Hicks turned himself into authorities after the shooting.

Hicks was appointed a lawyer. He was expected to appear in court on Monday, but the hearing was postponed until Tuesday.

Morning Joe , 2/17/15, 7:31 AM ET

Chapel Hill mayor discusses shooting details

Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt joins Morning Joe to discuss the details into the shooting deaths of three Muslim-American students.

Death Penalty, Gun Policy, Gun Violence and North Carolina

DA seeks death penalty in Chapel Hill shooting of Muslim students