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Ex-pastor's fate in jurors' hands

Posted October 8, 2009

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— A jury of Robert Reaves' peers must now decide whether the former Durham pastor is guilty of killing North Carolina Central University student Latrese Curtis last year.

Defense attorneys wrapped up Wednesday, trying to cast doubt on the state's case by saying evidence suggested Reaves' roommate at the time was more likely to have stabbed Curtis, 21, nearly 40 times in the head, neck, chest and stomach and leave her body along Interstate 540 in Raleigh.

Latrese Curtis NCCU student murder trial goes to jury

Prosecutors argued during the nearly two-week trial that Reaves killed Curtis in a jealous rage because he considered her an obstacle to his sexual advances toward his roommate, Steven Randolph, with whom Curtis had been having an affair.

The jury, which began deliberations Wednesday afternoon, must decide whether the state presented evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Reaves killed Curtis. They have the option of finding him guilty of either first-degree or second-degree murder. First-degree murder involves pre-meditation, if even for a short time.

Jurors deliberated most of Thursday and also reviewed both Curtis' and Reaves' cell phone records. Deliberations are expected to continue Friday.

Curtis had been at Reaves' home visiting Randolph the night before motorists found her body on Jan. 30, 2008.
Reaves, who did not testify during his trial, told investigators he was not on I-540 that night and that no one else had his car.

The state presented testimony from a state trooper who identified an abandoned car along I-540 that morning as Reaves’. A DNA expert also testified that Reaves' DNA couldn't be excluded from evidence at the crime scene.

Defense attorneys pointed out, however, that it did not identify him as the match, either, and they suggested that it might have been transferred from Reaves' home through Curtis. They also pointed out that DNA evidence taken from beneath Curtis' fingernails did not match Reaves.

A knife discovered in Reaves' car nine months after the crime was never tested and never connected to Curtis' wounds, and defense attorneys implied that it was planted in Reaves' car.

Prosecutors scoffed at that argument, calling it nothing more than speculation.

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  • itsmyownopinion Oct 9, 2009

    Verdict: GUILTY

  • jglyn43 Oct 9, 2009

    Again I say something smells here. I'll start with Mr Randolph.
    It's obvious to me these two were a little more than just roomates according to Randolph's own testimony.

    I do not know any guy who is going to allow a gay pastor to examine his private area or measure himself in front of someone that he knew had a thing for him. Just does not add up. I Can't believe Reaves is so crazy that he would stab a woman 4o sum times if he had not had a fling with Mr. Randolph previously. Plus Randolph even gives Reaves and alibi by saying his car was at home while the cops are saying something different. I personally believe Randolph and Reaves could be in this together. Randolph could have easily borrowed Reaves car and cell phone. Who's DNA, skin is underneath Curtis's finger nails if it doesn't belong to Reaves? Where is the murder weapon? What is Randolph's alibi? Where is the blood in Reaves car? So many questions that need to be answered. Something is not right about this case!

  • itsmyownopinion Oct 8, 2009

    Did the trooper ID Reaves' car by the tag number, or did he just notice a car that "looked" like Reaves' car on the side of the road at or near where the body was found?

  • Professor Oct 8, 2009

    He is guilty, jury! Stop wasting the tax-payers money. Oh, he will have plenty of "girlfriends" while he is living his life in prison. lol lol lol Wonder what other ministers are up to?

  • sweet4you Oct 8, 2009

    He's guilty. It's amazing what lust can do!!!!

  • atlpeach Oct 8, 2009

    In previous articles, it was sd. that the boyfriend wasn't there when she came to the house. This case is all to weird.

  • redapace Oct 8, 2009

    I believe the way juries decide murder/life sentence cases is flawed. If it still works the same way it did when I was on a jury, the jurors go into a room and each writes guilty or not guilty on a piece of paper. If all jurors have agreed, they have a decision. That's the way it should work IMO. However if all do not agree, then the majority tries to convince the minority to change their minds. This can be a long tiring process and often the minority jurors will "change their minds" just to get it over with so they can all go home. This should not be the way life/death sentences should be decided.

  • whatever02 Oct 8, 2009

    How did I miss the part about her fingernails?? Of course she could have the BF's skin from what they wre doing earlier that night. I still think he did it but it sure makes you wonder. Sure gives reasonable doubt.