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Serving UNC students and the University community since 1893

Volume 123, Issue 26


Death penalty on the table in Chapel Hill shooting trial

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Craig Hicks had a pre-trial hearing in Durham on Monday. By Zoe Schaver Assistant City Editor

A Durham County superior court judge ruled Monday that Craig Hicks, charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the Feb. 10 shooting at Chapel Hill’s Finley Forest apartment complex, is eligible to be tried for capital punishment. Judge Orlando Hudson Jr., ruled during a pre-trial hearing that Hicks is qualified for the death penalty because the state of North Carolina has found at least two aggravating factors were present in the shooting deaths of Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha. “The state has established the existence of at least two statutory aggravating factors: one, that this crime was com- Craig Hicks was mitted in the commischarged with three sion of another murder; counts of firstand two, that the defendegree murder in dant engaged in other crimes of violence at the connection with the February shootings. time of this murder,” Hudson said. Assistant District Attorney James Dornfried said much of the investigation by local and federal agencies surrounding the Chapel Hill shooting has been completed. “There are a few more discoveries that need to be turned over,” he said. Those discoveries include medical examiners’ reports for Hicks, the forensic extraction from Hicks’ computer hard drive and additional information from the federal investigation of the shooting, which requires a court order, he said. Dornfried listed forensic evidence linking Hicks to the crime, including DNA evidence showing the blood of Yusor AbuSalha on Hicks’ pants, gunshot residue on Hicks’ pants and shirt and a ballistic match from shell casings found at the scene to a firearm that was recovered from Hicks’


DTH/KYLE HODGES (From left to right) Ebony Cook (Miss Mu Zeta), Micheline Amisi (Miss Black and Gold) and Aliya Tucker (Miss 1906) placed in the pageant on Monday.

Micheline Amisi crowned Miss Black and Gold 2015-16 By Gwendolyn Smith Staff Writer

On Monday night in the Miss Black and Gold Pageant, freshman Micheline Amisi was asked what advice she would give her 13-yearold self. Her response: “Hold your head high, girl. God’s got you.” Amisi was crowned Miss Black and Gold 2015-16 in the lively Student Union auditorium. The crowd erupted in applause as she stepped forward to receive her crown and sash, waving to friends and beaming with pride. After three months of preparation and rehearsals, Amisi and four other female students competed in the pageant hosted annually by UNC’s chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. The evening consisted of a talent portion, swimsuit show, evening gown show and interview section. The contestants were judged on their appearance and poise, their GPA and an interview with judges before the event.

Unlike other contestants, Amisi, a Gates Millennium scholar, isn’t new to the pageant world. “I’ve been in pageants in the past, and I thought I was finished,” she said. “But Michael (Morrison) is very convincing.” Morrison, a junior public relations major, served as one of the co-directors of this years’ pageant. He encouraged Amisi to apply for the pageant because of her personality, he said. “She’s very charismatic and energetic,” he said. “She provides the energy that we knew would be good for other girls to see.” For Alpha Phi Alpha member Garrett Holloway, the talent portion is his favorite part. “It’s because a lot of people are really talented in very different ways,” he said. “It’s great to see people go on stage and do what they love.” The Miss Black and Gold Pageant is about more than just showing talent. Over the three-month process, Holloway said he has

seen the contestants become more comfortable with themselves. “Each of the young women has evolved, and it’s been incredible,” he said. “It gives them a stronger sense of self confidence and you can appreciate their beauty.” Amisi sported her beauty and talent in Monday night’s pageant as she strutted across the stage in a peach bikini and beige wedges to Beyonce’s “Freakum Dress” and recited Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” in traditional Congalese attire. Her confidence on stage was the product of regular practices and support from family and friends. “I didn’t really know the atmosphere or the vibe coming into it,” Amisi said. “But I’m so close with everyone from the collaborative effort.” The collaborative effort and forming of relationships is why the members of Alpha Phi Alpha and past contestants enjoy working


Powell moves on from challenging year Religious beliefs

and law a tough balance in NC

Houston Summers will be inaugurated in a ceremony today.

The state is wrestling with the issue of allowing religious exemptions.

By Brielle Kronstedt Staff Writer

Student Body President Andrew Powell will step down today to be replaced by Houston Summers after an eventful year. “It’s been a long year — a good one overall. It was a tumultuous time for UNC in a lot of ways, but looking back on what the student body has done, I’m proud of how student government has helped support and move things forward,” said Student Body Vice President Kyle Villemain, who worked closely with Powell on his initiatives throughout the year. Powell said the most difficult aspect of his job was prioritizing. “I think the biggest limitation we faced was that as soon as the school year started, I felt like we were going from one emergency to the next, and there are so many different things, from the Wainstein report to the review of centers and institutes to just, you know, we’re getting sued by a million different people all at once,” Powell said. But he and Villemain both agreed the killing of UNC student Deah Barakat; his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha; and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha was the hardest thing they dealt with all year. “It was simply heartbreaking, inexplicable — but while that was the toughest time, I think it also made me the most proud to

By Marisa Bakker Staff Writer

DTH FILE/JUSTIN PRYOR Student Body President Andrew Powell will be replaced by Houston Summers in a ceremony today.

be at Carolina and to be a part of the student body and this community that cares so much,” Powell said. He said his administration made significant progress on his platform of education innovation and classroom environment. “We have worked to make sure that active learning is on top of Carolina’s agenda, and I think that will manifest itself largely in this Quality Enhancement Plan we’re working on,” he said. Winston Howes, one of Powell’s opponents in the 2014 race, said he thinks the Powell administration was able to begin making progress on Powell’s plat-

form despite all the year’s crises. “I think they came in at a tough spot — you have the athletic-academic scandal unfolding coming in, and they started out strong in terms of reorganizing student government and laying the groundwork for what they were trying to do,” he said. Howes said the restructuring of student government at the beginning of Powell’s administration was not as successful as many thought. “I think one of the hopes was that by restructuring student government — which they did — they would be able to cut out a lot of the bureaucracy and just

move more efficiently,” Howes said. “But I haven’t gotten the sense of that being the case.” As Summers prepares to take his position, Powell said he has warned him about the personal toll the job can take. “But through it all, remember who you are and where you came from and the values you have, and try to serve the best that you can regardless of whether you feel that people are unfairly criticizing or unfairly complimenting you — just don’t let it get to your head, and keep doing what you think is right,” he said.

The heart of the religious exemptions debate is a clash between two fundamental rights: religious freedom and civil equality. While Indiana continues to deal with widespread backlash over its Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the N.C. General Assembly is examining similar issues. The state currently has laws allowing doctors to opt out of performing abortions and allowing parents to not vaccinate their children if they claim legitimate religious exemptions — and lawmakers are considering a bill exempting some magistrates from performing same-sex marriages, as well as a bill modeled off of the controversial Indiana statute. Both measures are currently stalled in committee. Indiana’s original law afforded business owners the right to refuse service on religious grounds, which critics said could allow business owners to discriminate against same-sex couples. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has since signed a revised version that prohibits discrimination against same-sex couples. “We consider both bills a direct affront to the civil rights of the LGBT community in North Carolina, and we support their rights to be productive members of society,” said Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality N.C. He said North Carolina’s religious freedom bill would promote discrimination against same-sex couples and reflected an attempt to circumvent the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state. “There is a small but vocal minority that is trying to subvert the court’s ruling in favor of marriage equality,” he said.


Let me know that I’ve done wrong, when I’ve known this all along. THE ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS



Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Daily Tar Heel

NC universities take stand against sexual assault By Hallie Dean Staff Writer

Competition and rivalry aside, universities across North Carolina came together on Monday to stand in solidarity against sexual assault as part of a statewide day of action. The UNC-system

Association of Student Governments dedicated the day to an “It’s On Us” campaign — based on the notion that all campuses are affected by sexual assault. Anita Simha, ASG vice president for campus community, said the campaign promotes awareness of the issue.

“I think it is pretty obvious that sexual violence is a prevalent and important issue to combat on university campuses,” Simha said. “We hope that spreading awareness will keep the issue in the back of people’s minds so that it will come to the forefront when they have the chance to be an active bystander or educate peers.” ASG, which is funded by an annual $1 student fee and advocates for the 17 UNCsystem schools, encouraged each university to participate. The organization printed “It’s On Us” T-shirts and distributed them to each school to get students involved. East Carolina University is dedicating an entire week — April 13-17 — to the cause. Jake

Srednicki, ECU student body president, said rape in college communities is not acceptable and he hopes this campaign will stimulate a change. “We hear about victims that are afraid to talk about it because people won’t believe them or will label them,” he said. “We are trying to create an atmosphere where students are willing to come out and talk about it so that it can be reported and justice can be served.” Srednicki said his goal is raising awareness and making students aware of the resources available for the treatment and prevention of sexual assault. “Every year, 25 percent of our student body is brand new to the school,” he said. “Our

community is always changing so we must make sure to shed light on ways to stay safe.” Winston-Salem State University promoted the campaign Monday by playing an “It’s On Us” video in the breezeway that is a major gathering area, along with handing out ASG’s t-shirts. Kenny Brown, student government’s vice president of external affairs at WSSU, said the event got students involved on campus, with many signing up online and tweeting with the hashtag #ItsOnUs. “We have had a couple of incidents, so I wanted students to become aware of their job to stand up,” Brown said. “It is about making victims feel comfortable about coming


Barakat a final time in the head before exiting the apartment. He said Hicks turned himself in to law enforcement shortly thereafter. “The evidence is sufficient to proceed with each one of these murders as a capital case,” Dornfried said. Hicks will be represented at trial by attorneys Stephen Freedman and Terry Alford. Dornfried and Assistant District Attorney Stormy Ellis will represent the state of North Carolina in prosecuting the case. Hicks’ next court date will be in the first week of June. District Attorney Roger Echols said the state is not planning to pursue a hate crime charge for Hicks, who some believe felt hatred toward the three victims because they were Muslim. “If it’s appropriate based on the federal investigation, I’m sure they will bring those charges,” he said.


FROM PAGE 1 vehicle. In addition to the three first-degree murder charges, Hicks is also charged with discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling. Dornfried said Hicks told police that on Feb. 10, he retrieved a firearm from his residence and went to the residence of Deah Barakat and Yusor Abu-Salha, where Barakat answered the door and a brief interaction ensued. Dornfried said no physical altercation took place before Hicks pulled out his firearm, which he had concealed, and shot Barakat multiple times. Dornfried said Hicks then fired shots at Yusor and Razan Abu-Salha, who were standing in the apartment’s common area. “They were alive after the first volley of shots toward them,” he said. “Each woman was then shot in the head.” Dornfried said Hicks shot



The gay marriage exemption bill, Magistrates Recusal for Civil Ceremonies, raises concerns about both civil liberties and the nature of exemptions. Introduced by N.C. Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, the bill would allow magistrates to refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Given magistrates are employees of the state, it raises whether public officials who swore an oath to the state can claim a religious exemption, said William Marshall, a UNC law professor. “When the religious believer is a magistrate and has an official role in government, there’s the question of whether exempting them from doing their duty with respect to certain folks is providing those people with the protection they deserve,” Marshall said. The state’s existing religious exemptions related to vaccinations have been contested in 2015. A bill cosponsored


with the pageant. Freshman Aliya Tucker was crowned Miss 1906, the runner-up, and said her relationship with others involved in the pageant was surprising. “They told us other contestants would be our best friends and I didn’t believe them,” Tucker said. “I’ve gained so many more friends and so many more people I can hang around with.” The relationships with the members of Alpha Phi Alpha and other contestants gave Tucker the confidence to explore her talents, she said. “I’m more comfortable with sharing things about myself,” she said. “I wrote about a really vulnerable time about an event in my life that took me and took my faith by surprise so I took my feelings out in my writing.” Morrison said he was proud to be part of an event that gave women on campus a

out and talking about it.” UNC-Wilmington combined the awareness day with its “Clothesline Campaign.” Students designed a shirt to hang on a clothesline to be a voice against domestic violence. They received an “It’s On Us” T-shirt afterward. Steve Nunez, an ASG delegate for UNC-W, said sexual assault today is all too common. “Sexual assault on college campuses, regretfully, is a theme that we see in the media time and time again, while countless incidents go unreported,” he said. “We can eliminate this trend that has become normalcy in the college experience.”

“It’s an opportunity to highlight the efforts of women who go unnoticed,” Michael Morrison pageant co-director

voice and creative outlet. “It’s an opportunity to highlight the efforts of women who go unnoticed on a daily basis,” he said. “It’s a platform for them to build certain traits like confidence and public speaking.” Morrison said winning the pageant is an honor and Miss Black and Gold represents the members, their colors and their fraternity. “For a brother, you have the woman you selected to participate as Miss Black and Gold, and they are your colors,” he said. “The fact that we selected that person you chose is really special.”

RELIGIOUS RIGHTS DEBATED N.C. lawmakers have debated religious exemptions several times in the 2015 session:

An N.C. bill similar to the controversial religious freedom law passed in Indiana is sitting in a committee.

forming same-sex marriages for religious reasons.

state has existing •lawsTheallowing for religious

exemptions related to performing abortions and getting children vaccinated.

Another bill also in com•mittee • The relationship between would allow the state’s freedom of religion and the magistrates to opt out of per-

law can often be complicated.

by N.C. Sens. Terry Van Duyn, D-Buncombe; Tamara Barringer, R-Wake; and Jeff Tarte, R-Mecklenberg, sought to overturn the exemptions. It was defeated in the Senate, but reflected an effort to tighten compliance, Van Duyn said. “When you think of immunizations as providing a shield

of immunity to disease in a community, in Buncombe County we’re developing cracks in that shield,” Van Duyn said. Public health concerns focus on the concept of herd protection, or the protection that exists for those who can’t be vaccinated — including infants and those with allergies — when enough people have been immunized. Low compliance rates put vulnerable populations at risk of contracting diseases such as whooping cough and measles, said Elizabeth Hudgins, executive director of the Raleigh branch of the N.C. Pediatric Society. The state also offers religious exemptions to professionals with objections to performing abortions on religious, moral or ethical grounds. “It acknowledges the fundamental, constitutional right these individuals have to not participate in an abortion procedure if they have such an objection,” said John Rustin, president of the N.C. Family Policy Council. Rustin said groups opposed to the statute are opposed to any limitations on the ability to obtain abortions. Marshall said he thinks the interests of doctor and patient are balanced as long as women can find the services they need elsewhere. “There’s a lot of debate about religious exemptions and when they should be allowed — it goes back a long way,” he said. “The question is whether or not there’s another person who can step in and accommodate both sides’ interests.”

A haiku about studying for the LSAT: No no no no no No no no no don’t want to No no no no no

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DTH April 7, 2015  

The Daily Tar Heel April 7, 2015 Front page & corresponding jump page

DTH April 7, 2015  

The Daily Tar Heel April 7, 2015 Front page & corresponding jump page