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Defense wants evidence from Eve Carson case kept out of Duke murder trial

Posted May 27

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— 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.

19 Comments

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  • tigersnpirates6389 May 29, 10:23 a.m.

    can we stop this mockery and quit wasting tax payers money on this useless blob?

  • solarcableguy May 28, 9:49 a.m.

    Eve Carson had fingers blown off her hand trying to shield herself from one of the many gunshots that wounded her. These evil doers didn't care about her and now one of them doesn't want the real truth about who he is to be presented at another trial...too bad!

  • scubagirl2 May 28, 9:35 a.m.

    I am always shocked by the misdirected attacks on defense attorneys. They swear an oath to... View More

    — Posted by Icaretoo

    I believe, that if you actually READ the comments, most of the anger IS directed at the system and Lovette, not the attorneys. We all know defense attorneys must do what they do-thankfully most of us do not-, but we don't have to like it now do we? didn't think so.

  • bdu4dals2 May 28, 9:32 a.m.

    True, the law is the law, maybe it's time to fix that. This animal deserves the full impact of the justice system and taxpayers should not be made to keep him alive in prison for the next 50-60 years.

  • bill0 May 28, 9:11 a.m.

    I'm always amazed about how little people know about out justice system.

    Of course prior crimes aren't admissible as evidence in the trial. Unless the crimes are related in some way, they need to be tried completely separately and the state needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed this specific crime. Any pattern needs to be much more specific than "He's a bad guy". eg if both victims were kidnapped, driven to ATM's, and then shot with the same type of gun/ammo. That doesn't seem to be the case here.

  • Tony Snark May 28, 8:56 a.m.

    This type of evidence is not admissible in a trial because it is not direct evidence that proves the crime at issue. Say that I robbed a store 10 years ago and that I am arrested for a theft because I was walking near a robbery scene and I match the description of the thief. The fact that I was guilty in the past does not prove that I am guilty now. It is too prejudicial. The prosecution needs to prove its case with evidence of the actual crime.

    The proper place to present this is at the sentencing.

  • dwntwnboy2 May 28, 8:31 a.m.

    "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"- why not? It's a pattern of behavior. Just happens that his pattern is murder and robbery.

  • Hill55 May 28, 8:11 a.m.

    I could NEVER live with myself if I had to defend this guy- and asking that information from one... View More

    — Posted by rachel

    Like it or not, that lawyer is doing their sworn duty. This is our system of Justice.

    Those who release habitual criminals like this, only to commit more crimes, those are the folks who wonder about their night sleep.

  • Icaretoo May 27, 7:31 p.m.

    I am always shocked by the misdirected attacks on defense attorneys. They swear an oath to defend their client's constitutional rights. Only ignorance can justify the disrespectful attacks on these attorneys. You do realize a lot of them are court appointed and are held in contempt if they do not vigorously defend their client! The jury decides guilt or innocence ... not the attorneys. If you don't like our judicial system try Saudi Arabia and pray you're never arrested!!!

  • BigBrokeBill May 27, 5:27 p.m.

    They want to try each case in a vacuum, no "outside" influence from a later crime that could show the defendant as a serial killer. I don't agree with this practice, if the dog is vicious, it must be put down.

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