DURHAM, N.C. -- The death penalty is now off the table for the man accused of killing three Muslim students in Chapel Hill. Craig Hicks has been in prison for the shooting deaths since 2015.

District Attorney Satana Deberry says she would like to see a trial happen in July. It's been four long years of waiting for the families of Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor, and her sister Razan.

The death penalty was taken off the table in order to speed up the trial process.

They were shot in Deah and Yusor's apartment. Police charged their neighbor, Craig Hicks, with three counts of first-degree murder shortly after.

Officials initially said Hicks was upset over a parking issue. However, the victims' family members have long called this a hate crime and believe the three were shot due to their Muslim faith.

In court, attorneys for Hicks said there may be some scheduling conflicts in July, but they did not mention specifically what those conflicts are. We asked if they would like to give us a statement, but they declined.