Local News

Duke Grad Student Died of Gunshot Wound to Head

Posted March 14, 2008 4:26 p.m. EDT
Updated March 14, 2008 4:29 p.m. EDT

— A Duke University graduate student died from a single gunshot wound to the head with resulting damage to the skull and brain, according to the autopsy report dated Thursday.

Abhijit Mahato, 29, was found dead in his apartment near the Duke campus in January with a pillow over his face with soot surrounding a hole in the pillow, according to the report by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Chapel Hill.

"The presence of soot on the pillow, along with a few powder particles in the wound track, suggests that the gun was in contact with the pillow, which was held tightly against the face, at the time of the shot," the report said.

Stephen Lavance Oates, 19, was indicted in February in the death, and a second suspect, Lawrence Alvin Lovette was arrested and charged with murder Thursday in the case.

Mahato, originally from Tatangar, India, was studying for an engineering doctorate degree on computational mechanics at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering. He was in his second year.

Lovette also faces a murder charge in connection with the death of the Unviersity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student body president, Eve Marie Carson. She was found dead about a half-mile from the campus on March 5. She had been shot, at least once in the head, according to a police report.