Local News

Fourth Probation Case in Durham Under Scrutiny

Posted April 4, 2008

— A 19-year-old Durham man charged with killing a Northern High School student last week was on probation at the time of the crime.

It's the fourth case in Durham that state probation officials are investigating in the wake of the arrests of two men charged in the slaying of a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student.

Cory Jiggets, of Fidelity Drive, was arrested March 31 in connection with the death of Skye Moniqua Lee, 18.

Investigators believe the motive for the slaying was domestic. Jiggets was the father of Lee's 10-month-old son, and he had been ordered to stay away from the teen following a December assault, police said.

Jiggets was placed on probation in 2006 and has several instances of probation. One was imposed in Durham County and several from Guilford County were transferred to Durham for supervision.

According to Department of Correction spokesman Keith Acree, Jiggets served six months on electronic house arrest, followed by six months of intensive probation that began March 1, 2007. His probation supervision was scheduled to end in 2010.

By August 2007, he had been charged in a breaking and entering case, but the citation process for revoking his probation did not begin until February 2008, Acree said. In the meantime, he was charged in December with assaulting Lee, and a judge ordered him to stay away from her as a condition of his release.

Acree said it is possible Jiggets' probation officer did not know about the assault charge because of communication gaps in the system and that Durham police were not aware he was on probation.

"There is no automatic connection, no connectivity, between the systems of (the Administrative Office of the Courts), the court system, bewteen the Department of Correction and between local law enforcement agencies," Acree said.

Earlier this week, WRAL found two other men charged in recent homicides were on probation at the time of the crimes of which they are accused.

Toriko Mercer, 23, is charged with murder in the March 28 death of David Anthony Taborn. According to court records, he was on probation for two misdemeanor larceny convictions, and probation officers were in the process of revoking his probation when Tabor was killed.

Gary Brady, 46, was arrested Jan. 18 in the Nov. 23 shooting death of Derrick Burch. At the time, probation officers had been unable to find him.

Last month, the director of the DOC's Division of Community Corrections ordered an internal investigation into the probation cases of the two men charged in UNC Student Body President Eve Carson's shooting death in Chapel Hill.

Findings from that report released this week show that one of the suspects, Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., 17, had been put on probation Jan. 16 – two days before the death of Duke University graduate student Abhijit Mahato, whom Lovette is also accused of killing.

His probation officer was assigned 127 cases, although she had not completed basic training.

She tried contacting him, but Lovette never met with her during the six-week period between Mahato's and Carson's deaths other than an initial meeting on the day he was processed in the system.

Division of Community Corrections Director Robert Guy said the probation officer never should have handled Lovette's case because she should have been on administrative duty following a December DWI charge.

Although law enforcement authorities and probation system officials say there is no guarantee the murders would not have been committed, closer supervision of Lovette and the other suspect in Carson's case, Demario James Atwater, might have detected problems with their cases sooner.


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  • Like that Apr 4, 2008

    No matter whether a person is on probation or not, if the individual wants to commit a crime there is no deterrant. Stop placing blame on uninvolved individuals and blame the criminal for the crime. There is no connectivity within the departments, that has been a problem for years. Since a cluster of murders have occurred officials are beginning to see the problems that the working officers have been complaining about for years. How about putting a little more accountability on the judges that let these assaultive and felonious offenders back in the streets with minimal supervision sanctions. Probation officers do not create the sanctions, they just enforce them.

  • celong Apr 4, 2008

    It is a revolving door just like the schools are a revolving door to those students who are constantly suspended or in In School Suspension. Can't stop them when they are small (or punish), can't stop them when they get older. Bring back the death penalty. I know there are those on death row who are innocent but there are circumstances when you know who the killer is. Quick justice with a quick outcome. Can you believe what I read in the newspaper one family member said, "he's still a good boy" BS!!

  • piperchuck Apr 4, 2008

    "There is no automatic connection, no connectivity, between the systems of (the Administrative Office of the Courts), the court system, bewteen the Department of Correction and between local law enforcement agencies,"

    In this age of computers, it is remarkable they are so far behind.

  • bluewind Apr 4, 2008

    Wow!! This is like an onion! The more layers that are peeled away, the harder it is to take!

  • fkhaywood Apr 4, 2008

    The Department of Agriculture can track all cows & calves in the US, as a result of Mad Cow disease scare, but we can't track inmates and people on probation, or any body with a rap sheet. Maybe the Department of Agriculture needs to run the Department of Corrections!

  • Tax Man Apr 4, 2008

    This is just plain dumb - how hard is it for the probation department to be linked automatically to the NCIC computer database? Any law enforcement officer (including Probation/Parole officers) should be able to do a routine check on the National Crime Information Computer and get instant results on their perp. Also the probation status should be available to all, including the public, on a national website. We should know who the cops/probation are looking for and we should be offered rewards for nailing them! Maybe we need to
    "chip" the probationers like we do our dogs and cats - then any officer with an RFID reader can verify if a bad guy is near them! Heck, Walmart does it - why can't law enforcement? They have GPS chips now so you can even track their movement.

  • durham citizen Apr 4, 2008

    Business as usual in Durham. No one is responsible and no one knows what is going on. Our Mayor has a handle on it thought. If you aren't involved with illegal activities, you have nothing to worry about. Thank you Your Honor.

  • Tired Of Excuses Apr 4, 2008

    Communication gaps? More like people are just too lazy and unprofessional to follow through on their work. It's 2008, as far as I'm concerned there are no excuses here and I am sick and tired the NC probation systerm. Someone needs to come in and clean house. Hire people who are going to WORK for their paycheck. What if it had been their daughter who had been murdered by these takers? These guys have no regard for human life. I hope all three of them get what's coming to them. The person or persons who dropped the ball need to get theirs as well. How many more people are going to be victims of these thugs out on probation or "house arrest"?

  • moreupset Apr 4, 2008

    North Carolina has probation officers but not a probation system. Probation officers and Law enforcement officials need to get connected. It is called the internet. Technology is here and there is no excuse. Do not use lack of funds as an excuse, both parties already have computers with internet access.