Local News

UNC Murder Suspect Also Charged in Duke Grad Student's Death

Posted March 13, 2008
Updated March 19, 2008

— A teenager detained early Thursday in the death of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student leader Eve Carson now faces charges in connection with the death of a Duke University graduate student.

Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., 17, of 1213 Shepherd St., was arrested was charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 18 shooting death of Abhijit Mahato hours after his arrest in the Carson case.

Mahato, 29, a doctoral student, was found shot to death inside his apartment a few blocks from Duke's campus.

Lovette and another Durham man, Demario James Atwater, 21, are each charged with first-degree murder in Carson's March 5 shooting death.

Police are also looking at whether Atwater was involved in Mahato's death.

"(It's) hard for me to believe" these were the only crimes they were involved with, Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez said Thursday.
Lopez said, however, he did not think the crimes are gang-related and that they appeared to be random.

The arrests of both men come a week after Chapel Hill police found Carson's body near the UNC campus. A tip line and surveillance photos released since then were responsible for their captures, authorities said.

"(It proves that) snitching works," Lopez said.

Acting on a tip through the Durham County Sheriff's Office, members of the Durham Police Department Selective Enforcement Unit surrounded a house on Cook Road at about 4:15 a.m. Thursday.

Negotiators worked for more nearly two hours before he surrendered peacefully. Watch authorities detain Lovette.

The SEU arrested Atwater early Wednesday morning at a house on Rosedale Avenue in Durham. Watch video of Atwater’s bail arraignment.

Both men are in jail without bond. Lovette could make his first court appearance on Friday in connection with Carson's death, Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said.

Chapel Hill Police Chief Brian Curran said Thursday he did not anticipate any more arrests in that case but said, "the hard stuff (in the case) is still ahead."

More Arrests Possible in Mahato's Death

Police would not say how they were able to link Lovette to Mahato's death, saying only he "did not confess" to it and that it was the result of good police work.

According to the arrest warrant, Lovette allegedly stole a cellular phone, wallet and an iPod – with a combined value of about $300 – before Mahato was shot to death inside his apartment at 1600 Anderson St.

"We're happy that someone's been caught. Hopefully, no one else is going to have to die for money or whatever it is he was after," Ed Triplett, a neighbor of Mahato, said. "But it's a shame someone else did have to die, that there wasn't enough evidence for whatever reason to solve the case the first time around."

Several days after the shooting, Durham police arrested Stephen Oates, 19, of Anthony Drive, and three other men with murder after a chase that spanned two counties. Oates has since been charged in connection with more than a dozen armed robberies.

A source tells WRAL that police are still looking to make another arrest in Mahato's death.

Duke Welcomes News

“We welcome the news that the Durham and Chapel Hill police departments have in the murder of Eve Carson arrested a second suspect, someone who also has been charged in the murder of our graduate student Abhijit Mahato several weeks ago," John Burness, Duke's senior vice president for public affairs, said in a written statement Thursday.

"Our campus community deeply mourns the tragic deaths of these two outstanding young people, and our thoughts are with their families today.”

Lovette was scheduled to appear in a Durham court Friday to face the murder charge in the Mahato case and a number of other Durham police charges – including misdemeanor larceny, communicating threats, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and common law robber.

According to arrest warrants, Lovette allegedly stole five pairs of Air Jordan shoes valued at $570 from someone in Durham and threatened to kill the victim's family if he called police. He also encouraged a 14-year-old to help him steal the shoes, police said in the warrant.

368 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • Gneiss One Mar 14, 11:51 a.m.

    It is sad these fellas value life about as much as the dirt on my shoes. I do not blame anyone but them for the punishments and criticisms they obviously deserve. There is nothing funny about death, including those who are executed, but I hate my tax money is used to support them since they can now get 3 meals, clothes and a college education. I hate I work all day to support them, it makes me sick. Prison may be no picnic, but is way more than they deserve. Why should I give a stinky about them ???? I will soon be a citizen armed, ready and will defend myself since the criminal justice system seems to care more about their rights than mine. Guns laws will never work. Just like locks were invented to keep "honest" people out.

  • Gneiss One Mar 14, 11:42 a.m.

    dataclerk...hope you don;t have a full time job since it takes all day to post and continually monitor and respond to all the negative feedback your comments generate. It is sad these fellas value life about as much as the dirt on my shoes. I do not blame anyone but them for the punishments and criticisms they obviously deserve. There is nothing funny about death, including those who are executed, but I hate my tax money is used to support them since they can now get 3 meals, clothes and a college education. I hate I work all day to support them, it makes me sick. Prison may be no picnic, but is way more than they deserve. Why should I give a stinky about them since I could be killled tonite???? Or you or your children...I find no humor in this situation since all crime is hateful and hurts not just the victims, but the families of both the criminals and the victims forever. It is not your place to tell everyone to move on.

  • gamide3 Mar 13, 9:57 p.m.

    Several of you have commented that Killing these two guys will not bring Eve back? How do you know that? I say lets try it and see if it works.

  • Corvus Mar 13, 7:20 p.m.

    My question is why the DA's in several counties kept plea bargaining Demario Atwater's charges down to doing probation. I'm sorry but if you are already a convicted felon on probation, why would you give him another case of probation for the charge of Possession of a Firearm by a Felon. Do the District Attorneys not do any kind of a background check on these people before make a deal with them?

  • carolinagirl88 Mar 13, 7:13 p.m.

    annekachan:
    Just because someone was innocent in 1-3rd grade does not change the fact that they committed murder and should be charged accordingly. It is my opinion that these men should receive the death penalty. I also believe that anyone convicted with a substantial amount of evidence for first degree murder should be charged with the death penalty. A life for a life.

  • annekachan Mar 13, 6:47 p.m.

    Well, I can see how many people think that they deserve the death penalty, but I have pretty mixed feelings about that... I went to elementary school with Alvin (Lovette). I haven't really talked to him since, going to a different middle school and saying "Hi" once or twice in the halls at Jordan. I can only remember what he was like as a kid. I think it's easy to say he should die if all you know about him is what's relevant to this story, but if you remember him being in your class in... I know 1st-3rd grades, possibly more, it becomes a lot harder to condemn him as evil.

  • oldschooltarheel Mar 13, 6:15 p.m.

    The pain & suffering these people inflicted on their victims, the victims' families &, yes, even their own families is unbelievable. They are not salvageable, regardless of their tender ages. What turned them down the path that led to heartless unprovoked murderers? I suspect (strongly) the tolerance Durham has for law breakers - illegal aliens coming to the "sanctuary city" & gangs coming to the city that has a laissez faire attitude about prosecution of lawbreakers. These folks bring crime with them - because they have needs!
    Durham's gang problems are so remarkable a documentary has been made about it - "Welcome to Durham" on DVD. Tacit approval to certain groups of lawbreakers (wink, wink, we know you are here for the jobs we won't do nonsense) has brought other criminals in from as far away as Central America, CA & TX (20 different gangs in Durham?!! Oh no Mayor Bell, we don't have a significant problem here! PAH!). Now Orange & Wake counties are open 4 bizness!

  • MommaM Mar 13, 5:18 p.m.

    You can't assume that growing up in an educated, poor or one-parent family creates criminals. I work with low-income, minority children every day and these are kids whose goal is to be the first in their family to graduate high school and go on to college. They have aspirations to be doctors, lawyers, teachers, and other honorable professions. They don't spend a lot of time hanging around aimlessly, sitting in front of televisions (which teach them all they need to know about how to be a criminal) and listening to music that tells them that it is okay to be a thug and that they must be sexually promiscuous to be cool. If we clean up television (particularly before 11 pm), music and add values, morals and ethics back to our everyday lives (from individuals to politicians), we'll be able to see a difference in our world. Lest I forget, if we really wanted drugs off the streets, we could do a better job of it. Too much money is passing from drug dealers to officials.

  • Paladin2 Mar 13, 4:58 p.m.

    dataclerk -
    You are a piece of work to resent the attention given to Ms Carson. People are allowed to grieve as long as they need to. You need to have some compassion yourself before you say you are praying for someone else.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Mar 13, 4:56 p.m.

    NC do not have the death penalty at this time. There been questions about it and I think they are still dealing with that. Anyone know different?

More...