- Sunday marked four years since three Muslim college students were killed at a Chapel Hill apartment
- The man accused of their murders has still not gone to trial
- Initially, police said the killings may have been the result of a parking dispute but the families believe was a hate crime.
NORTH CAROLINA – Four years since three American Muslim young people got killed in Chapel Hill Islamophobic shooting, the man accused of their murders has still not gone to trial, CBS reported Monday.
Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23 his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21 and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were fatally shot Feb. 10, 2015, at the couple’s condominium in Chapel Hill.
“It remains to be heartbreaking and sad and just destroys a big part of who we are and who we were,” said Farris Barakat, Deah’s brother.
Sunday marked the 4th anniversary of their death. The family honored the trio who worked to do good in the community.
“We’re talking about channeling that bad energy, channeling that evil to good,” explained Shadi Sadi, a close friend of Deah Barakat.
Their killer, Craig Hicks, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder.
“It’s hard to kind of imagine that four years went by, especially that we haven’t gone to trial yet. I just feel like that weighs on me a little bit, like the whole trauma of it all,” said Barakat.
Family and friends know it may be hard to relive the horror of the killings, but they hope for justice.
“To hear the evidence, it’s going to be hard. We just want to make sure we are still standing here doing as much good as we can,” said Sadi.
Over the past years, the family has been working to keep the victims’ legacy alive.
Since their deaths, the Our Three Winners Foundation was established by family members of the victims.
It aims to end hate crimes “through a preventive, rather than reactive approach.”
Also in the wake of their deaths, Deah’s brother Farris Barakat opened a youth group home in downtown Raleigh called “The Light House Project.”
The Light House Project looks to end Islamaphobia and promote understanding.
Two universities, North Carolina State and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, have endowed a scholarship and an award in the names of the victims.
Two Habitat for Humanity homes have been built with Muslim and interfaith labor, adding to the three built before the killings.
Two years ago, a land for a new mosque, to be called the Winners Masjid, has been bought in North Raleigh, and the three streets surrounding the complex will be named after the slain students.