Judge orders FBI to turn over documents to Craig Hicks' defense team

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Murder defendant Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, left, listens while his co-defense counsel Terry Alford makes notes during a Monday, April 6, 2015 death penalty hearing for Hicks in Durham, N.C. Presiding Judge Orlando Hudson found the shooting deaths of three Muslim college students at Finley Forest residential complex in Chapel Hill in February 2015 made the Hicks case eligible for the death penalty. (Harry Lynch/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS)

Craig Stephen Hicks appeared in a Durham County courtroom for the first time in over a year for a motions hearing Tuesday. 

Hicks, 48, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the Feb. 10, 2015 deaths of Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, of Chapel Hill; his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, of Chapel Hill; and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, of Raleigh. 

The FBI investigated the case as a possible hate crime, but no federal charges have been brought against Hicks.

At the hearing on March 14, the defense requested that the FBI release information pertaining to a search of Hicks' computer. 

"The motions heard were for discovery issues," said Stormy Ellis, the assistant district attorney for Durham County, in an email. "The court ordered the FBI to turn over notes on the forensic computer exam."

In April 2015, Judge Orlando Hudson Jr. ruled that Hicks qualifies for the death penalty due to aggravating factors. 

Ellis said a trial date has not yet been set. 

@erin_kolstad

city@dailytarheel.com 

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