CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — 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.
On the anniversary of the deaths of Deah Barakat, his wife, Yusor, and her sister Razan Abu-Salha, family and friends honored the trio who were working to do good in the community, who embody the light and love of the students who died.
“We’re talking about channeling that bad energy, channeling that evil to good,” explained Shadi Sadi, a close friend of Deah Barakat.
Deah, Yusor, and Razan cared deeply about serving others, and even as those who love them focus on continuing their legacies, the pain of losing three promising lives hasn’t faded.
“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.
Initially, police said the killings may have been the result of a parking dispute but the families believe was a hate crime.
Craig Hicks is charged with three counts of first-degree murder. The Durham County District Attorney says this is one of the oldest pending homicides in the county and she is working to move toward trial.
Family and friends say they’re working closely with the district attorney and understand the complexities of the case.
“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 in court they may have to relive the horror of the killings, but for now, they focus on the hope and love left behind.
“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.