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Trial date set for Duke student's 2008 shooting death

Posted December 18, 2013

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— A Superior Court judge in Durham on Wednesday set a July 14 trial date in the murder case of Duke University graduate student Abhijit Mahato, who was shot to death nearly six years ago.

Judge Jim Hardin also ruled against motions to move Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr.'s trial to the North Carolina coast or to bring potential jurors from Wilmington and Elizabeth City to Durham – moves defense attorneys argued were necessary to ensure a fair trial.

Lovette, 23, was also arraigned Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the Jan. 18, 2008, crime.

Mahato, 29, of Tatangar, India, was found dead inside his apartment from a single gunshot wound fired at point-blank range to his forehead.

Lovette's attorneys had asked for the change of venue, citing extensive news coverage of the case as well as the murder case of Eve Carson, the student body president at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who was killed less than two months after Mahato.

An Orange County jury found Lovette guilty of that crime in December 2011. He is already serving a life sentence in prison on that conviction.

"He's just trusting in the system and trusting in the fact that we can get fair and impartial jurors to get this case," his attorney, Karen Bethea-Shields, said. "Hopefully, things will turn out pretty good for him at trial, and if not, we have some good issues for appeal."


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  • jscott13 Dec 19, 2013

    Is she such a liberal that she wants to return a killer to the community...so he can do it again.

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxx Dec 19, 2013

    He's getting a trial 6 years later??? Why has it taken so long?

  • stymieindurham Dec 19, 2013

    I know Ms. Shields. She is as liberal as they come. Also, did you notice her comment, ""Hopefully, things will turn out pretty good for him at trial, and if not, we have some good issues for appeal."

    Win or lose, we are the one's paying her expenses as this drags on.

  • forddp Dec 18, 2013

    She is defending someone who is presumed innocent until proven guilty. That's the way our system works, and the innocent people charged and put in jail should be thankful for that.

  • jscott13 Dec 18, 2013

    Lovette's lawyer has done some great things with regard to civil and womens' rights. She was the first black woman to graduate from Duke Law School. And why is she defending someone who is guilty. What about all of the innocent people charged and put in jail.

  • Native NC gal Dec 18, 2013

    This guy is still breathing??

  • tatermommy52 Dec 18, 2013

    So he cant get a fair trial because he murdered somebody close to where he allegedly murdered somebody else.