WTVD-TV – MUST CREDIT WTVD-TV, NO ACCESS RALEIGH, NO ACCESS U.S. BROADCAST NETWORKS
Durham, North Carolina – 12 June 2019
1. Various of Craig Hicks walking into court
2. Judge asking questions
3. Hicks responding
WRAL-TV – MUST CREDIT WRAL-TV, NO ACCESS RALEIGH, NO ACCESS U.S. BROADCAST NETWORKS
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Mohammad Abu-Salha, Father of Yusor and Razan:
"You had 12 guns, but Deah killed you with a camera. Your life is finished because you decided that, but he didn't decide to do that. You ask him to kill you with a camera. You heard how beautiful they were. You never showed any regrets or any remorse or empathy or respect or even issued an apology."
4. Hicks cutaway
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Yousef Abu-Salha, Brother of Yusor and Razan:
"You're a small man, a monster of failure and as they said to media immediately after the murders, your own children believe so too."
Moments after a North Carolina man pleaded guilty to gunning down three Muslim university students, a prosecutor played a cellphone video of the slayings in the courtroom Wednesday as victims' relatives wept openly, and a man hurled an expletive at the confessed killer.
Craig Stephen Hicks, 50, entered the plea to three counts of first-degree murder in a packed Durham courtroom.
It came two months after the new district attorney dropped plans to seek the death penalty in hopes of concluding a case that she said had languished too long.
The judge said Hicks had agreed as part of his plea bargain to accept three consecutive life sentences without parole.
The judge added 64 to 89 months for the crime of discharging a gun into a building.
Moments after Hicks' entered his plea, prosecutor Kendra Montgomery-Blinn played a cellphone video of the slayings as the victims' parents and siblings watched from the front row.
Women wept openly and a young man hurled an expletive at Hicks after watching the video, which was shown on a large pull-down screen and on two flat-screen televisions brought in to give people in the courtroom a better view.
The prosecutor also showed a video of Hicks' confession and a series of still photos portraying happy moments in the victims' lives.
Police say that in February 2015, Hicks burst into a condo in Chapel Hill owned by 23-year-old Deah Barakat and fatally shot Barakat, his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21; and her 19-year-old sister Razan Abu-Salha.
At the time of the shootings, Chapel Hill police said Hicks claimed he was provoked by competition over parking spaces at the condo complex.
Relatives of the victims said they were targeted because they were Muslim and asked federal authorities to pursue hate-crime charges.
The FBI conducted what it called a "parallel preliminary inquiry" to the homicide investigation to determine whether any federal laws were violated, including hate-crime statutes.
The bureau turned over its investigation to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Greensboro in July 2015.
Neither that office nor the Justice Department responded immediately to requests for comment Wednesday.
Law enforcement officials had said previously that a hate crime would be difficult to prove.
The phone drops to the floor inside the front door, the sounds of women screaming can be heard, and then several more shots are heard.
Barakat, a dental student 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 accepted to the dental school.
Razan had just made the dean's list in her first semester at North Carolina State University.
Barakat was shot several times as he stood in his doorway, autopsy results showed. His wife and her sister were shot in the head at close range inside the condo.
All three were making plans to visit Turkey during their coming summer break to volunteer in a dental clinic at a camp for Syrian war refugees.
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