It was only a few weeks ago when 46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks went to an apartment near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and killed three Muslims — Deah Shaddy Barakat (23), his wife of just over a month Yusor Mohammad (21), and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha (19) — before turning himself in to the police.
We still don’t know if this was an anti-Muslim hate crime, as many want to claim, or a dispute over parking (as Hicks’ wife said), but prosecutors know what result they want to see:
Roger Echols, the Durham County district attorney, notified Judge Orlando F. Hudson on Wednesday of his intention to seek capital punishment, according to a document filed with the Superior Court.
A hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to pursue a death-penalty case was scheduled for Monday. That hearing was postponed because of a scheduling conflict in the district attorney’s office, said the office’s administrative assistant, Candy Clark. A new date has not been set, but is expected in early April.
Hicks doesn’t need to be charged with a hate crime in order to receive the death penalty.
Incidentally, more than half of people without a religious affiliation support the death penalty (56%), though I suspect that number drops significantly if you only polled atheists/Agnostics.
Since there seems to be no doubt about his guilt, I’d prefer to see him in prison for the rest of his life. His death won’t bring back the lives he took away even if many well-intentioned people will clamor for blood.