Local News

Prosecutor: NCCU student killed in jealous rage

Posted December 5, 2008 11:32 a.m. EST
Updated December 5, 2008 5:57 p.m. EST

— A man's jealousy over a romantic relationship between his roommate and a North Carolina Central University student prompted him to kill the student last January, a prosecutor said Friday.

During a bond hearing for Robert Lee Adams Reaves, prosecutors said Reaves wanted to have a homosexual relationship with his roommate, Steven L. Randolph, and went into a rage when Randolph rebuffed him.

Reaves then followed Latrese Matral Curtis, who was having an affair with Randolph, after she left his apartment and killed her, prosecutors said.

"This defendant was trying get Mr. Randolph to engage in homosexual activity," Assistant Wake County District Attorney Howard Cummings said. "The deceased in this case became sort of an obstacle for the defendant's desires to be with Mr. Randolph."

Drivers found Curtis' body along Interstate 540 near Louisburg Road in northeast Raleigh about an hour before her husband, Darin Curtis, reported her missing on the morning of Jan. 30.

Latrese Curtis, 21, had been stabbed nearly 40 times in the head, neck, chest and stomach, according to an autopsy. The autopsy report said her jeans were unbuttoned and the fly was unzipped, and medical examiners found a condom.

An administration and management major at N.C. Central, she was last seen leaving a class on Jan. 29. According to her husband in a 911 call, she called him about 10 p.m. that night to tell him she was on her way home.

A North Carolina state trooper found Reaves' 2004 Chrysler Pacifica parked on the side of I-540 early on Jan. 30, about six hours before drivers spotted her body along the highway, according to a search warrant. No one was in the vehicle, but the trooper spotted a woman's sweater inside, according to the warrant.

Reaves, 43, of 19 Birchcrest Court in Durham, is charged with first-degree murder in the case. A judge on Friday set his bond at $2 million.

Reaves was a minister at Cedar International Fellowship in Durham. He was a pastor for more than 20 years and previously faced criminal sexual charges in South Carolina and New York.

He says he was at a church function the night Latrese Curtis was killed, but Cummings said police can prove he wasn't there.

"Even with all the evidence you heard about there ... it's certainly circumstantial," defense attorney George Kelly said. "You don't have direct evidence of the defendant's guilt. He has maintained his innocence."