Grand Jury Indicts Self-Proclaimed Atheist in Murder of Muslim University Students

HicksCHAPEL HILL, N.C. — A grand jury has indicted a self-described “anti-theist” with three counts of first-degree murder after allegedly gunning down three Muslims near the University of North Carolina campus last week.

As previously reported, Craig Hicks, 46, turned himself into the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday following the execution-style shooting that took the lives of Deah Barakat, 23, and his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, as well as Abu-Salha’s sister Razan. Barakat was studying at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry and his wife was set to attend the school in the fall.

Hicks had regularly shared posts about atheism on his social media page, noting himself to be a supporter of “Atheists for Equality” and a fan of the TV show “The Atheist Experience,” as well as Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion.”

“Of course I want religion to go away,” his Facebook cover reads. “I don’t deny you your right to believe whatever you’d like, but I have the right to point out it’s ignorant and dangerous for as long as your baseless superstitions keep killing people.”

On Feb. 8, Hicks shared a photograph about the alleged commonalities between “radical Christians” and “radical Muslims,” and late last month, he shared a quote from the page “Militant Atheism for the Soul.” He had also recently posted a photograph of his “loaded 38 revolver” with “five extra rounds in a speedloader.”

Police outlined last week that initial findings appeared to indicate that the shooting, which took the lives of Hicks’ Muslim neighbors, occurred over an ongoing parking dispute. Local television station WRAL reports that Hicks “called to have neighbors’ cars towed so much that the towing company stopped responding to his calls.”

However, police have not yet ruled out whether religion played a role in the incident and are further investigating the matter.

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“Our investigators are exploring what could have motivated Mr. Hicks to commit such a senseless and tragic act,” Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue said in a statement. “We understand the concerns about the possibility that this was hate-motivated and we will exhaust every lead to determine if that is the case.”

Hicks’ wife, who is reportedly filing for divorce, spoke during a press conference and asserted that her husband did not target Barakat and his wife and sister-in-law because of his opposition to religion.

“I can say with my absolute belief that this incident had nothing to do with religion or victims faith, but in fact was related to the long-standing parking disputes that my husband had with the neighbors,” she stated. “We were married for seven years, and that is one thing that I do know about him.”

But the family of the victims contend otherwise.

“This was not a dispute over a parking space; this was a hate crime,” Mohammad Abu-Salha told the News and Observer in Raleigh. “This man had picked on my daughter and her husband a couple of times before, and he talked with them with his gun in his belt. And they were uncomfortable with him, but they did not know he would go this far.”

In addition to being indicted on Monday with three counts of first-degree murder, Hicks is also facing a charge discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling.

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  • MEP1101


    • Jefferson_Lebowski

      That is correct. The so called Communists were not Communists at all and Atheism was replaced with a worship of the state and it’s party hierarchy. This was neither Communism nor was it Atheism but rather slavery (just like religion). And you don’t have to SCREAM —it’s rude (turn your caps off).

  • Jefferson_Lebowski

    Oh give me a break. This is nothing more than red meat for religious fanatics. This story has less to do with Atheism and more to do with the mental health of this person (The SCIENCE of psychology will explain).

    • Meepestos

      Exactly. Though Charles Manson was and still is a theist, did the media ever question that his motives had to do mostly with his belief in a god?

  • Disqusdmnj

    Good. As an atheist, I hope he winds up in jail for the rest of his life. What a horrible, senseless act.

    • Meepestos

      Same here. He obviously was a bully with some mental issues.

  • Atheist. hey? I doubt it. Just another political move to end religious freedom in America…if you cannot see this then there is a clear veil over your eyes…

    • x_therefore_y

      I can’t imagine a better summation than “clear veil over your eyes…” (ellipsis must be included). Given your acute perspective and keen insight, would you be willing to share the methodology one uses to detect “clear veils?” I confess, you have me a little anxious, hoping against hope that secret decoder rings or, worse, cosmic intergalactic revelation via one of the few thousand invisible “special friends” who “only talks to you.” Well, you and David Burkowitz.

      • Let me rephrase, “if you cannot see this then there is clearly a veil over your eyes…” My apologies. I did not mean to offend you with my poorly constructed sentence.

  • Meepestos

    Same here. He obviously was a bully with some mental issues.

  • jmichael39

    The only purpose in identifying this man as a self-proclaimed atheist was to counter the many statements being made early on in the case by news reports, and even the President, that this man was some conservative right wing religious nutcase who did this because the victims were Muslims. His atheism has nothing to do with the purpose of the murders. He was a nutcase who had already been confrontation with many other people over parking issues. It was not a religion based crime by any means.

    • NCOriolesFan

      And a concealed weapons holder too which should scare the heck out of any sane person.

  • NCOriolesFan

    Muslims will beleive any attack against them is a hate crime but yet they still hate Israel.

  • LittleMouse

    Sure thing, it’s important to emphasize that he is a radical atheist. However, this detail is not as important as the murder itself. People just keep hating and use these terrible news as an excuse to hate as well. It will never end like this. My cousin has to study remotely and uses professional essay writing company becase she was bullied. Things like this won’t stop unless people learn to accept each other. You don’t have to agree, just stop this endless loop of hate. Anyway, I feel really sorry for this girl and her family.