Local News

Fourth Probation Case in Durham Under Scrutiny

Posted April 4, 2008 5:11 p.m. EDT
Updated April 4, 2008 9:43 p.m. EDT

— 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.