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Jury selection begins in trial for slain Duke grad student

Posted July 14, 2014

— The man accused of robbing and killing a Duke University graduate student more than six years ago went to trial Monday with defense attorneys asking the judge to keep details of another high-profile murder case out of jury selection.

Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., 23, is charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 18, 2008, death of Abhijit Mahato, a 29-year-old engineering graduate student from Tatangar, India, who was found in his Durham apartment dead from a gunshot wound to the head.

Lovette is one of two men already serving a life sentence for the shooting death of Eve Carson, the student body president at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who was killed less than two months after Mahato.

Defense attorneys for Lovette, who rejected a plea deal in the case, have been concerned about news coverage and publicity in both cases and have unsuccessfully petitioned the court to either move the trial from Durham or bring in a jury from another part of the state.

Superior Court Judge Jim Hardin also has denied requests to keep evidence from the Carson case out of Lovette's current trial. Prosecutors say they want to demonstrate a pattern of violent behavior by Lovette.

But Hardin did agree with the defense on Monday that prosecutors shouldn't go into details about Carson's murder while questioning potential jurors so as not to cause any bias.

Those in the potential jury pool will first answer a questionnaire for attorneys to find out what they know about both cases, and they will then be questioned individually. Once 12 potential jurors have been selected, they will then be questioned again before attorneys decide who to seat on the jury.

It's unclear how long the process will take, but the trial is expected to last at least a month.

The state has a list of 104 potential witnesses while the defense has 15 people on its potential witness list. Lovette's attorneys won't say if they plan to call him to testify.


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  • 678devilish Jul 16, 2014

    He will be convicted the second time. He is never getting out of prison like he may think. Never going to happen.

  • 678devilish Jul 15, 2014

    The defense for him do not want Ms. Carson named mentioned doing the trial. The nerve of them. I hope her name is mentioned millions and billions of times.

  • 678devilish Jul 15, 2014

    I know everyone deserves a fair trial, but this guy already has life on his shoulder for the murder of the late Ms. Eve Carson. He is going to get the same thing for this murder. The second trial is a waste of the tax payers money.

  • disgusted2010 Jul 14, 2014

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    Unsubstantiated conclusions. Maybe you could do better.

  • "Screen Name-8/20" Jul 14, 2014

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    For some reason, law enforcement there didn't seem overly concerned about Mahato's death and only seemed to get serious in finding killers when Carson was killed.

    Had they worked harder on Mahato's death, they may have caught these clowns before they had time to murder again and Eve might still be alive.

  • Mike Watson Jul 14, 2014
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    I recall the newspaper reports on his death before Eve was killed.

  • 678devilish Jul 14, 2014

    ospreysilverJul 14, 10:02 a.m.

    If he already got life in prison what is the purpose of the 2nd trial

    Because of the different person besides Carson. Don't worry, he is going back to prison for life. He is never getting out. Not unless he dies.

  • mike275132 Jul 14, 2014

    In the good old days, you didn't get a chance to murder a second time after you already murdered someone [ because you had already been executed or were on "The Green Mile"].

    Ah, the Utopia we live in....

  • T-ONE Jul 14, 2014

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    I hope you are not!

  • Betty Lanier Jul 14, 2014
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    excuse you, but that is a poor assumption on your part.

    There was never any attention paid to this gentlemen even though he was killed first.