DURHAM, N. C. – He hated religion. He hated the rules. He hated people who were parked on the spot.
The man who stood in a case four years ago, a world of horror over anti-Muslim violence, was so hateful that his three chapels, Middle Eastern students, were shot and killed in the chapel's housing complex in Hill, North Carolina.
The man, Craig Hicks, counts as a crime on Wednesday, 50, and receives three consecutive sentences for the murders originally caused by a police debate.
But the case has tested the limitations of the legal system when it comes to the question of a hate crime becoming a hate crime. Country-wide reports of bias-based attacks are on the increase, but many such court cases are never officially classified as hate crimes, a surprise to the victims and sometimes a shock. often as moral as a legal.
The families of the murdered students – Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, sister, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and Yusor's new husband, Deah Shaddy Barak, 23 – are repeatedly trying to identify a hate crime.
In North Carolina, there is no hate crime involving first-degree murder, but the family has repeatedly met the federal prosecutor and then twice with the head of the justice department.
"If a Muslim man knocked on a door and made a Christian family in their home, not with provocation, we would call it terrorism," said Dr. Mohammad Abu-Salha, the father of the sisters. "But we Muslims are soft targets."
Over the past few days, Hicks' guilt and conviction have made angry attempts to ensure that the record accurately reflects the severity of the crime.
In court and in lawful announcements, Hicks was called white supremacist, bigot and monster. The prosecutor sought and obtained permission to present the concept of implicit bias in hearing – the negative stereotypes that were unconsciously held. The unarmed black men quoted tacit bias in police shooting.
After the 2015 shots, Abu-Salha said the mosque had armed security in the service of Friday's prayer, the friends bought weapons for self-defense, and some Muslim women stopped the headscarf from fear. Hate crimes in which the victim is chosen because they belong to a particular group or are believed to belong to a particular group are given special status because they can leave an entire community, not only from the immediate victims, with the threat.
But the expression includes the emotions that do not exist, said Ryken Gratt, an expert on hate crime at Davis University in California, as well as a discriminatory employer, think women are worse, but do not hate them.
Hicks was an angry white man, unemployed, with few tools like a small firearm arsenal and a $ 2,000 car. It was $ 14,000 in child support.
Social media posts were anti-religious, but they did not separate a particular religion. He noted a great deal of obsession with complex and related confrontations, complaints and violations of parking rules in connection with towing services. Once he knocked on the door of the victims, hiding a gun and complaining about the noise. They played in the risk board game.
A video that Barak had recorded on his cell phone during the recording, which had not yet been published, recorded what had happened after Barak opened the door on 10 February 2015 to knock Hicks. no parking space, "Hicks said, the others saw the video.
Hicks also claimed that the three students were rude and grumpy, and said in a recent jailhouse interview, "disrespectful balls".
But this was not true, asking whether he invented his pretext to explain his violence or believed in his own story, because, as a supposed statement, prejudices distorted his remarks.
None of the three was parked at a designated Hicks site, and only two were parked on the shore according to police and court records. They remain polite in the video. However, Hicks said that those who saw the video: "If you become disrespectful to me, I will be disrespectful."
Hicks to leave, pulled the gun and fired Barack on the porch. The two women can listen and beg for the lungs.
Speaking in prison, Hicks claimed that he didn't know that the three Muslims were, although women always wore a headscarf, and although Hicks continued to complain that he had seen a violation of Muslim duty to speed up during Ramadan.
On Facebook, before the murders, Hicks was an aggressive atheist, making organized religion ridiculous and offensive. Experts said violence against people just because they were religious could be considered a bias, regardless of their beliefs. But Hicks insisted that religion had nothing to do with murder.
– I was a Muslim. I know the Muslims, "he said. "I suffer from them as society treats them as less people."
One of the reasons why some bias crimes are not hated under hate crime laws is that defendants such as Hicks are facing the widest sanctions, said Brian Levin of the San Bernardino California State University for Hate and Extremism. center.
At Friday's hearing, Satana Deberry, a Durham County District Attorney, sought to testify to an expert on implicit bias who wrote that although Hicks was in angry confrontation with various neighbors and guests, "the most dangerous when they were in the colors, and, of course, only ended in a deadly violence.
“Any reasonable effort to define the motif should go beyond:“ Are you biased? "The expert, Samuel Sommers, a psychologist at Tufts University, wrote, adding that Hicks' inaccuracies slipped in the negative light of the victims.
Hicks' lawyers tried to eliminate the implicit bias testimony. They said they could not find a single court case that would have implicitly biased what was called unexplored social science.
Deberry replied that Hicks had tried to avoid the punishment he had repeatedly called the "white supremacist" worldview. Judge Orlando Hudson said he would allow Sommers to testify at a hearing on Wednesday.
In 2015, the case was at Ripley Rand's desk, and then at the United States Middle District lawyer. In an interview this year Rand said that the federal government should intervene if local authorities do not know or do their job, which did not look like in Durham, where Hicks seemed to be the rest of his life in prison.
Rand said he told families that obscure motifs made it difficult to enforce the hate crime law and was surprised to learn that they were still awaiting public recognition for the killings motivated by hatred.
"The family failed to make sure the family fully understood the law," he said.
The family appealed to Vanita Gupta and then to a lawyer at the Department of Civil Rights of the Ministry of Justice who met them twice. Gupta refused to discuss the matter, but in general he said that the department had defined a sixth circular control decision that did not allow mixed motifs.
"The evidence must be clear that the only motivation for crime is hatred," Gupta said.
However, legal norms are not the same as moral standards. Levin said that the statements about the victims come as "the next moral anchor."
Families will announce the trauma on Wednesday. Last week, Hicks asked him to forgive the courtroom before they testified. "I like to think I have an empathy, but I'll see how I do things and I really wonder if I do it," he said in an interview. "I'm sorry for family members, but I really don't want to deal with them, and that would be empathy."
But Abu-Salha complained, saying he let him leave, "codify".
"Not in a single world," he wrote to the court on Monday, "could he kill the children and not face the words of the families whose lives he had destroyed."
After reading the letter, Hicks withdrew his request to leave the courtroom.