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Duke to Pay Tribute to Slain Student

Posted January 25, 2008

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— Duke University planned to pay tribute Friday to a graduate student who was gunned down in his apartment last week.

Abhijit Mahato lived in Apartment C-2 at 1600 Anderson St. The 29-year-old was found dead on Jan. 18. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. in the Fitzpatrick Center.

Durham police believe Stephen Oates, 19, committed the crime and that the motive was robbery. During Oates' first court appearance Thursday, the assistant district attorney said Oates took Mahato's cellphone, wallet and $200.

Police said they believe Oates held up three other people at gunpoint that same day.

Oates was among a group of young men police arrested Tuesday after a high-speed chase that started in Durham and ended in Raleigh. Police tracked the car because it matched the description of a vehicle used in a previous armed robbery.

Investigators later linked Oates to Mahato's murder.

The memorial service for Mahato comes two days after campus officials and police held a meeting to discuss a rash of recent crime, including armed robberies.

Mahato's friends and family described a gentle, intelligent, thoughtful poet and scientist whose qualities they said they will sorely miss.

Mahato was studying for a doctoral degree at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering. He was in his second year.


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  • bomanicous Jan 25, 2008

    I agree with icecream...To me the killers life is worth about as much as the price of a bullet or an IV cocktail at Central Prison.

  • DayumKrazy1 Jan 25, 2008

    This is a terrible situation, I echo icecreams comments. As a great University, Duke has been through some very uncomfortable times in the last few years. I am not a fan and this is more than obvious however, I hope this and other trials they have endured will heal and those involved find complete closure. I like the sports rivalry and I have many personal friends who have either picked Duke as their college team of choice, and some who went to Duke to persue higher learning. I like to heckle them, and they the same but, I try to keep it fun and most do..its nothing personal. Having said all this, I hope this is the last time we see news like this coming from their campus.

  • pingmanreturns Jan 25, 2008

    Just curious as to why the "pot bangers" arn't out demanding justice.

  • mgratk Jan 25, 2008

    Odd-- Duke isn't blaming the victim.

  • carlaking Jan 25, 2008

    Let me guess he must have been bored

  • treasure Jan 25, 2008

    This is so, so sad.

  • ice cream Jan 25, 2008

    RIP, Abhijit. :( These robbers may have thought your life was only worth a little over $200, but trust that the REST of us know that you were worth so much more.