Muslim neighbors slain: Defendant faces families in court

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — A man accused of gunning down his Muslim neighbors was emotionless during a brief court appearance where he faced his victims’ relatives for the first time in nearly two years.

Defendant Craig Hicks appears to have lost a significant amount of weight since the fatal shootings in February 2015. He wore an orange jumpsuit and said nothing during the pretrial hearing Tuesday in which attorneys discussed discovery issues.

Hicks is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the killings of 23-year-old Deah Barakat; his wife, 21-year-old Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha; and her sister, 19-year-old Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.

Deah Barakat’s brother, Farris, said it was the first time the families had seen Hicks in person since an April 2015 hearing at which a judge ruled that he can face a death penalty trial.