Monday, March 2, 2015

Update in the Chapel Hill North Carolina triple homicide shooting, death penalty

It does not appear that the alleged shooter of three Muslim students, Craig Stephen Hicks, will be leaving the local slammer any time soon.  And when he does, if convicted in court, he could be facing the death penalty in North Carolina -- although the 'how' of state executions is somewhat in legal limbo at the moment.

Per the web site, deathpenalty for North Carolina, where there have been recent releases of men on death row, sometimes for decades, who were innocent, and in the face of a lack of approved drugs for lethal injection, even conservatives (which dominate the political landscape of NC) are opposing the death penalty.  Notably a GOP party chair LED from last year opposed the death penalty continuing, where the right has previously strongly championed it:

Mark Edwards, chair of the Nash County (North Carolina) Republican Party, recently spoke about replacing the death penalty with a sentence of lfie without parole: "As a conservative seeking to find the best way to protect the residents of this great state from crime, I believe the death penalty has had its day in North Carolina. It is time to begin the debate on replacing the death penalty with life in prison without parole." He also said, "We are advocating that we replace the death penalty with life in prison without parole, which would will prevent debacles like the Oklahoma execution. It is a tough punishment, and inmates with no hope of release certainly do not live on 'easy street.'" Edwards is a member of North Carolina Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, and he pointed to the toll executions take on correctional officers, especially when executions go wrong: "No matter how professionally the staff carries out its duties, a community is formed and relationships established with the prisoners, including those who sit and wait on death row. Then they have to participate in the inmate’s execution. That cannot be easy for these men and women," Edwards said. "It is not fair for us to impose these untested (and, as the events in Oklahoma remind us, possibly unreliable) drug protocols on the dedicated staff of the Department of Corrections."
The Durham County prosecutor has filed the necessary papers as of Feb. 25th, per Raw Story and local station WTVD.

The federal inquiry into his actions, seeking to determine if this is a hate crime (presumably under federal statutes) and therefore a separate set of charges,is ongoing.

As we have noted here, and as continues to be the finding of the police investigation, this does not appear, so far as we can determine, a religious based hate crime but rather a crazy nut job obsessed with guns seeking to dominate and be an authoritarian figure, much like George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin shooting several years ago.

An interesting if not particularly pertinent detail about Craig Hicks, he was studying to become a para-legal.  The information makes me wonder how this man could have such an apparent disrespect for the law, to have (allegedly) executed three people, and to have so clearly used his firearm for which he had a cc permit, to threaten and intimidate so many other people (many of whom were not Muslim).

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