Local News

Duke to Pay Tribute to Slain Student

Posted January 25, 2008 9:01 a.m. EST
Updated January 25, 2008 9:52 a.m. EST

— Duke University planned to pay tribute Friday to a graduate student who was gunned down in his apartment last week.

Abhijit Mahato lived in Apartment C-2 at 1600 Anderson St. The 29-year-old was found dead on Jan. 18. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. in the Fitzpatrick Center.

Durham police believe Stephen Oates, 19, committed the crime and that the motive was robbery. During Oates' first court appearance Thursday, the assistant district attorney said Oates took Mahato's cellphone, wallet and $200.

Police said they believe Oates held up three other people at gunpoint that same day.

Oates was among a group of young men police arrested Tuesday after a high-speed chase that started in Durham and ended in Raleigh. Police tracked the car because it matched the description of a vehicle used in a previous armed robbery.

Investigators later linked Oates to Mahato's murder.

The memorial service for Mahato comes two days after campus officials and police held a meeting to discuss a rash of recent crime, including armed robberies.

Mahato's friends and family described a gentle, intelligent, thoughtful poet and scientist whose qualities they said they will sorely miss.

Mahato was studying for a doctoral degree at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering. He was in his second year.