Local News

Suspect Indicted in Duke Grad Student's Death

Posted March 17, 2008
Updated March 19, 2008

— A grand jury on Monday indicted Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr. on one count of murder and one count of robbery with a dangerous weapon in connection with the Jan. 18 slaying of a Duke University graduate student.

An autopsy report released last week said Abhijit Mahato, 29, was shot at point-blank range in the forehead as a pillow was held tightly against his face. His body was found in his apartment a few blocks off campus.

Lovette, 17, is the second suspect charged in the slaying. He was arrested Thursday in connection with the shooting death of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill senior and Student Body President Eve Carson, 22.

Durham County Assistant District Attorney Tracey Cline said in court last week a cell phone and an iPod found on Lovette when he was detained in Carson's death linked him to Mahato's.

Lovette was on probation at the time for a pair of crimes he committed in November. He received a two-year suspended sentence for misdemeanor larceny and breaking and entering and was placed on probation Jan. 16.

Prosecutors believe he and Stephen Lavance Oates Jr., 19, of Durham, killed Mahato two days later. Oates was indicted on a murder charge last month in the case.

Court records also show that in the six weeks from the time Mahato was killed until Carson's slaying in Chapel Hill, Lovette was arrested at least two times in Durham and charged with nine different crimes, including burglary, car theft, breaking and entering, and resisting arrest.

He was released on bond after each of those arrests, and court hearings were pending for later this month.

Robert L. Guy, director of the Department of Correction's Division of Community Corrections, said that during that six-week period, a probation officer made telephone contact with Lovette but never saw him outside of court.

Guy has ordered an internal investigation to see if that probation officer followed departmental procedure.

"In the first 30 days, we have certain things we're supposed to complete," Guy said. "That's what the investigation team is looking into. What did we do?"

Guy has also launched an investigation to determine how oversights could have been detected in the probation case of Demario James Atwater, 21, who is also charged in Carson's death.

Atwater was convicted in 2005 of felony breaking and entering and larceny and was sentenced to three years' probation. He was convicted of a probation violation in June 2007, but not arrested until Feb. 20.

A March 3 court appearance – two days before Carson's death – was rescheduled to later in the month because of clerical errors in Wake County court.

Carson was shot March 5.

Lovette is now in jail under a $3 million bond in Mahato's death and is being held without bond in Carson's death. Atwater is also being held without bond.


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  • TexasKate Mar 18, 2008

    """How could someone with this record be out on bond?????""" No, the question is, who paid the bond? Whoever did bought Eve Carson's life. Wonder how much it was?

  • oldcmag Mar 18, 2008

    Watching the Service for Eve Carson is what he should be doing right now and trying to make peace with the good that might still be in him! What was it that made him do that to her ! Who gave him the right to take her life and it seems others! I feel that he should not be warehoused for the rest of his life where is the justice in that ?

  • tbeark Mar 18, 2008

    As far as the death penalty goes, I believe these "men" should be killed for what they have done.

    I don't believe in the death penalty because I think it serves some sort of justice (although if you take the eye-for-an-eye stance, it really does). The deaths of these murderers will never bring Eve back, and it will never make her family and friends stop missing her.

    I believe in the death penalty because I do not believe that my tax dollars should be spent supporting the lives of people who has such little regard for life that they could kill people. It's as simple as that. It makes me angry that my hard-earned money is used to pay for the food, clothing, and cable TV of people who shot a defenseless girl three times in the head so they could get, what, $300 with her ATM card, it sickens me.

  • tbeark Mar 18, 2008

    There seems to be some argument over whether this story is news-worthy because Eve is "just another person," and there are plenty of other cases and crimes like this everywhere. And it is true that there are heinous murders everywhere.

    But it is not often that a person like Eve is the victim. Eve accomplished more in her short time on this Earth than most other people will in their entire life. She wasn't yet done giving, either. There aren't many people like her, who are willing to give of themselves so much, and devote their lives to others. When people like Eve are taken from us, it is a tragedy, NOT because her life is worth more than anyone else's, but because now the world will miss out on all the impact she could have had.

    Shame on these murderers--their career choice has obviously been made. Their goal is to take out the people who are willing to make something of themselves. People like the Duke PhD student, Mahato, and people like Eve.

  • Raptor06 Mar 18, 2008

    Our lawmakers fail to realize that a 17-year old of today is much more mature than a 17-year old in the 1970s. This young man needs to be held accountable for the crimes he committed as an adult. Since he prizes his "gangsta" attitude and reputation, he should be punished like his fellow gangsters of past. The NC Legislature shares a lot of responsibility for this crime and other crimes like it. Another organization's 14-Point plan, specifically Point #9, is also responsible for this "war" situation in our communities. Point #14 addresses the Iraq war, but they refuse to address this "war" currently on-going in our communities. Shame on that organization, too.

  • lastchance Mar 18, 2008

    comments are great but only we are listening and voicing, are the judges and what are we doing about it except complaining including myself, my son was murdered almost 2 years ago and same thing, the killer was let out of prison on less time, gee thanks system. we need to take back control people, lets do it...

  • Space Mountain Mar 18, 2008

    It seems that family or friends would know his cellphone was missing. I'm sure someone came to get his things after he was killed.

  • thinkfirsttypelater Mar 18, 2008

    The vigil will begin at 6 p.m. March 24 in front of Anderson Street Apartments for 29-year-old Abhijit Mahato, who was killed Jan. 18.

    All here are invited to attend.

  • ctechic2004 Mar 18, 2008

    If, when finding out the Duke Grad Student's cell phone was missing, why wasn't a search warrant initated and a record of the calls to and from that cell phone obtained? (I'm playing Saturday morning quarterback. I know that it could have been done. And maybe if they (LEO) was more determined, then maybe Lovette would have been caught before now. Also, they had arrested one other person for his murder a week or so before Eve Carson was murdered. Why wasn't he given alot of attention?
    Okay, so she was president of the SGA and did some community service projects. I see nothing wrong with UNC holding all the memorial services that they want but come on, two weeks of this is a little overboard. Some say, well don't read about it or don't watch it on TV, but when you want to see the news and the first 20 minutes is about this case,with no disrespect to the Carson's family you can't help but get a little annoyed. And my heart does go out to them.

  • thinkfirsttypelater Mar 18, 2008

    "Where is his televised memorial"

    It's scheduled for next week.