Prosecutors plan to seek death sentence for suspect in UNC Chapel Hill shooting

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Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, enters the Durham Countycourtroom  for his first appearance in the shooting deaths of three University of North Carolina students in Durham, North Carolina on February 11, 2015. . Hicks has been charged with three counts of first degree murder with no bond. (Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, enters the Durham Countycourtroom for his first appearance in the shooting deaths of three University of North Carolina students in Durham, North Carolina on February 11, 2015. . Hicks has been charged with three counts of first degree murder with no bond. (Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Prosecutors plan to seek the death sentence for a man accused of killing three Muslim students in Chapel Hill last month.

Durham County District Attorney Roger Echols filed papers in court that show he plans to seek the death sentence if Craig Stephen Hicks is convicted of first-degree murder.

Hicks has been charged with killing 23-year-old Deah Shaddy Barakat; his wife, 21-year-old Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha; and her sister, 19-year-old Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, on Feb. 10.

Police say the shootings were over a long-running dispute over parking at the condominium complex. The victims’ families have said religious bias played a prominent role in the shootings.

A hearing is set for next month on Echols’ request to seek the death penalty if Hicks is convicted.