We’ve been saying all along that this is not simply a parking dispute.:
Mr. Hicks’s wife, Karen Haggerty Hicks, suggested another motive. The killings, she said at a news conference the next day, had nothing to do with the victims’ faith, but were “related to a longstanding parking dispute that my husband had with the neighbors.”
But even Mrs. Hicks’s lawyer, Robert N. Maitland II, acknowledges the parking dispute theory was speculation on her part. “Here’s the thing: Nobody knows,” he said. “Why did he lose it that particular day?” He described her Feb. 11 news conference as an effort to prevent panic.
Mr. Hicks has confessed to murder, said Lt. Joshua Mecimore, spokesman for the Chapel Hill Police Department. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
A motive for the shooting may never be known. But interviews with more than a dozen of the victims’ friends and family members, lawyers, police officers and others, make two central points: before the shootings, the students took concerted steps to appease a menacing neighbor, and none were parked that day in a way that would have set off an incident involving their cars.
If those accounts do not prove what kind of malice was in Mr. Hicks’s heart, the details that emerge indicate that whatever happened almost certainly was not a simple dispute over parking.