Local News

Duke Grad Student Died of Gunshot Wound to Head

Posted March 14, 2008

— A Duke University graduate student died from a single gunshot wound to the head with resulting damage to the skull and brain, according to the autopsy report dated Thursday.

Abhijit Mahato, 29, was found dead in his apartment near the Duke campus in January with a pillow over his face with soot surrounding a hole in the pillow, according to the report by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Chapel Hill.

"The presence of soot on the pillow, along with a few powder particles in the wound track, suggests that the gun was in contact with the pillow, which was held tightly against the face, at the time of the shot," the report said.

Stephen Lavance Oates, 19, was indicted in February in the death, and a second suspect, Lawrence Alvin Lovette was arrested and charged with murder Thursday in the case.

Mahato, originally from Tatangar, India, was studying for an engineering doctorate degree on computational mechanics at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering. He was in his second year.

Lovette also faces a murder charge in connection with the death of the Unviersity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student body president, Eve Marie Carson. She was found dead about a half-mile from the campus on March 5. She had been shot, at least once in the head, according to a police report.


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  • unctrish Mar 17, 2008

    I would like to read more about Abhijit Mahato. It seems to me that coverage of the crime and criminal wasn't publicized as much until Eve Carson's incident occured . I had no idea or heard anything about Abhijit until Eve got murdered...coincidentally by the same person. I would like an equal coverage of Abhijit. He was brutally murdered as well.
    It would be as respectful since she's getting a memorial and so much coverage to see that he gets one too...but at this point, that probably won't happen. What about his family? Friends? It's so sad to see hard working people, especially one from a third world country coming here to make something out of himself. I suspect his family has sacrificed a lot to support him being in the U.S to get an education. It just makes me sick to see that he was killed because of money amongst other things. This country needs to re-evaluate itself socially and judicially.

  • pingmanreturns Mar 14, 2008

    No need to comment if it's going to be censored!

  • justwondering2 Mar 14, 2008

    Jetset, its not only in the schools but these types of parents (i guess that's what you call them) also like to take their kids to the hospital on Fridays and if they are admitted they literally leave and don't come back until late Sunday night or Monday. They think the hospital is their weekend babysitter and they are off to party. And here again there is difficulty reaching them by phone. I feel so bad for these little ones.

  • jwp247 Mar 14, 2008

    When are the powers that be going to realize we have a judicial system that favors the criminals and doesn't protect the innocent. Both of these low lifes (and that's putting it nicely) should have been locked up with their criminal past! It is disgusting!

  • MSN93 Mar 14, 2008

    There is no way these murderers should be able to avoid the death penalty. The minimum age for death penalty eligibility should be lowered to at least 15, since more and more teens are committing violent crimes. They are also often connected to gangs.

  • OakRapp Mar 14, 2008

    Makes one wonder how many more monsters are wandering the streets of Durham looking for prey. I also wonder why Judge Brown made his plea to the legislature to enact gang control legislation but our police chief is still denying that these murders were in any way gang-related.

  • Boot-the-DC-Tyrant Mar 14, 2008

    There are no words to describe these ignorant parasites. They are a termite on society and are really good for nothing.

    I hope the death penalty isnt too far away in these "things" future (they don't deserve a future).

  • GWALLY Mar 14, 2008

    you nailed it jetset!!!

  • uncw40oz Mar 14, 2008

    jetset - GOOD idea! I am a teacher as well in a high school. I believe everything you said. We have to connect education reform with welfare reform to hold parents accountable.

  • jetset Mar 14, 2008

    I work in the school system and time & time again you can almost pick the students who are headed for trouble later on in life. They pretty much come from single parent homes where the mother/father are working 2 jobs to support the family, the parents aren't married, the students have basically no guidance, the parents can't be reached and show hardly any interest in their education or general wellbeing. They leave a phone number so they can be "reached" but it is usually disconnected in 1-2days or it has a ringtone that blasts gangsta rap. We (the schools) can't teach and raise the children. We must make the parents more accountable someway. I say cut off the Medicaid if the parents don't show for educational meetings or if the parents don't take the child for necessary health care appointments (which are free by the way). These parents make us all sick to our stomachs but our hands are tied. Children that generally commit crimes come from these kind of homes.