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Lovette admitted to killing Duke grad student, state's key witness says

Posted July 22, 2014
Updated July 23, 2014

— The ex-girlfriend of Laurence Lovette's co-defendant in the murder of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill senior Eve Carson testified Tuesday that the 23-year-old admitted to the robbery and shooting death of Duke University graduate student Abhijit Mahato six years ago.

Shanita Love said she heard Lovette telling her boyfriend – Demario Atwater – on the morning of Jan. 18, 2008, that he and Atwater's half-brother "killed a guy" after taking him to an ATM for money and then took a camcorder, iPod and cellphone from Mahato's Anderson Street apartment.

"It was said that he had shot the man, but that he put a pillow to the gun," Love said.

Later that same morning as Atwater and Lovette drove by Mahato's apartment while taking her to work, Love said Lovette, again, commented about the crime.

"He looked in that direction (of the apartment)," Love said. "He said there was no activity, as far as a crime scene or anything, so the body was not found yet."

It wasn't until 11:30 p.m. that day that friends found Mahato, 29, lying on his bedroom floor – with a pillow over his face – dead from a gunshot wound to the head.

Lovette's defense, however, contends that Love is not credible. Cross-examination Tuesday focused on several interviews she gave police, including the initial one on March 20, 2008, in which she said Lovette wasn't involved in Mahato's death.

By November 2009, the defense pointed out, Love's claims had changed.

"She told me Eve Carson was a copycat murder of Mr. Mahato's," Chapel Hill police investigator Celisa Lehew testified about an Oct. 16, 2008, conversation between the two. "She didn't detail it. She said the only difference was that Demario Atwater was involved in Eve Carson's homicide, and (Atwater's brother) Phillip Maybrey was involved in Mr. Mahato's homicide."

Maybrey has never been charged in the case, and he testified Monday that he lied to police when he told them he was there at the time of the crime.

But the jurors who must decide if Lovette is guilty of first-degree murder in Mahato's death weren't present for any of Love's testimony.

Nor were they there to hear from six other witnesses whose testimony defense attorneys are trying to limit because of details about Lovette's involvement in Carson's murder or other alleged crimes for which he was never charged.

Carson's death – Lovette and Atwater are both serving life in prison for it – will be part of the trial, but the judge has not decided how much information the jury will hear about that crime. Defense attorneys wanted it left out altogether, but the state has said it's necessary to show Lovette's "pattern of violent behavior."

The 22-year-old Carson was shot five times in a Chapel Hill neighborhood near the UNC campus on the morning of March 5, 2008, after Lovette and Atwater kidnapped her from her home and drove her to two ATMs, where Lovette withdrew $700 from her bank account.

In Mahato's case, a former Durham police detective testified that someone withdrew $520 from Mahato's savings account between 2:12 a.m. and 2:14 a.m. on the morning of his death.

It wasn't until after Carson's death that Love went to police, she said, because she didn't want to get involved.

"I felt like it was too much for me to hold in," she said.

Other testimony Tuesday included Durham resident Margie Scott, who testified that she discovered on Jan. 17, 2008, that someone broke into her home in the middle of the night while she slept and stole her silver 1999 Mercedes Benz – one police say is similar to the car recorded on ATM security video when someone made withdrawals from Mahato's bank account.

Love also testified that she saw Lovette around the time of the crime driving a silver Mercedes that he claimed he stole from an old woman.

Police found the stolen car on Jan. 20, 2008, a police officer testified, in the same Durham apartment complex where Atwater and Love lived.


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  • HANS FOR PRESIDENT!!!!! JK Jul 23, 2014

    678devilishJul 22, 2:29 p.m.

    I guess while he was running his mouth, he did not realize there would be witnesses. I am glad she came forward and told what she knows. Lovette is going down. He is going to get prison for life. No parole.

    You mean he is going to get prison for life with no parole again, right? As sad as it is, this trial's outcome will likely never have an impact other than closure for Mr. Mohato's family. Due to Alvin's age at the time of these crimes prison forever is thge best that can be done

  • anotherbabyboomer Jul 23, 2014

    This should be heard by the Jury, it is so relavent to the case. Just crazy.

  • Steve Faulkner Jul 22, 2014
    user avatar

    Why bother even having a jury, if they aren't going to hear key testimony??

  • LetsBeFair Jul 22, 2014

    All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing ... here is proof there is hope for this world, she did the right thing. so proud of her.

  • mpheels Jul 22, 2014

    View quoted thread

    She isn't just coming forward now. She approached the police years ago, right after Eve Carson was murdered. She is the one who led the police to Lovette and Atwater in the first place. She is currently in the news because she is a witness in the trial, so this is the first time she has told the story in a public forum, but not the first time she has spoken to law enforcement.

  • arfamr1009 Jul 22, 2014

    Of ourse he did...killing someone in cold blood is the ultimate "street cred" in this hip hop culture that is being bread. Why WOULDN'T he brag about it is the question.

  • A person Jul 22, 2014

    Lovette's current girl-friend does not look quite the same as his ex-girlfriend

  • Djofraleigh Anderson Jul 22, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Don't get your point. Ghetto is from Europe. I think it originally referred to the Jewish section of a city, but today it is used by some to refer to the slum area, where things are unkept and people are poor. I don't know how or why telling the truth about a murder would be called snitching, unless 'snitching' is a good thing.

  • 678devilish Jul 22, 2014

    Interesting question, why is she coming forth now when it happen several years ago. Why now? I guess the guilt is eating her up.

  • 678devilish Jul 22, 2014

    All evidence should be presented in court with a crime of this multitude. The victims deserves this much.