Defense wants evidence from Eve Carson case kept out of Duke murder trial
Posted May 27, 2014
Durham, N.C. — Defense attorneys said Tuesday that they don't want evidence from the Eve Carson case being presented in the upcoming trial in the death of a Duke University graduate student.
Prosecutors say Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr. robbed and killed Duke student Abhijit Mahato on Jan. 18, 2008. Mahato, 29, of Tatangar, India, was found dead inside his apartment from a single gunshot wound fired at point-blank range to his forehead.
Less than two months later, Carson, the student body president at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was kidnapped from her apartment, forced to withdraw money from automated teller machines and shot to death on a Chapel Hill street.
Lovette, 23, is already serving a life sentence in Carson's murder, but his attorneys said during a motions hearing Tuesday that jurors in the Mahato trial shouldn't hear much about that case, as well as about other crimes in which Lovette was allegedly involved.
Prosecutors said they want to demonstrate a pattern of violent behavior by Lovette.
Superior Court Judge Jim Hardin said he would hear the evidence prosecutors want to present outside the presence of the jury to decide what jurors can hear.
Lovette's lawyers also want to bar testimony from witnesses who prosecutors say can connect Lovette to Mahato's death and other crimes. They told Hardin that the witnesses have changed their stories several times over the course of the last six years because of police pressure and suggestions, and allowing them to testify would be equivalent to knowingly putting liars on the stand.
Hardin denied that request, saying it's the jurors' job to determine the credibility of witnesses.
Lovette's trial is set for July 14.