Jury Selection Begins in Carson Killer’s Trial for 2008 Durham Murder

Jury selection began Monday in Durham in another first-degree murder trail for Laurence Lovette, one of the convicted killers of UNC Student Body President Eve Carson.

This time, 23-year-old Lovette is facing trial for the 2008 shooting death of Abhijit Mahato, a 29-year-old engineering graduate student at Duke University.

That murder occurred at Mahato’s Durham apartment, less than two months before Carson was killed by Lovette and Demario Atwater during a carjacking and kidnapping incident in Chapel Hill.

Lovette and Atwater were both convicted of first-degree murder and related charges in the Carson murder, and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Defense attorneys in the Mahato murder trial requested that details of the Carson murder are not included in questions during jury selection.

Previous defense requests to move the case away from Durham, or at least have a jury selected from another part of the state, were unsuccessful.

Superior Court Judge Jim Hardin said he will also allow evidence from the Carson case to be included in the trial for Mahato’s murder.

He did, however, agree to keep details about the Carson case out of the jury selection process.


Eve Carson’s Killer Pleads Not Guilty For Duke Student’s Murder

DURHAM – Laurence Lovette Jr., the man found guilty in 2011 for killing then UNC Student Body President Eve Carson, pled not guilty Wednesday in the murder case of a Duke University graduate student who was shot to death nearly six years ago.

A Durham Superior Court judge set Lovette’s trial date for July 14 in the murder case of Abhijit Mahato, WRAL reported.

Lovette, 23, was charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 18, 2008, crime. Mahato, 29, of India, was found dead inside his apartment from a single gunshot wound fired at point-blank range to his forehead.

Judge James Hardin also ruled against motions to relocate the trial to the North Carolina coast or to bring potential jurors from Wilmington and Elizabeth City to Durham. Defense attorneys argued these measures were necessary to ensure a fair trial.

Lovette’s attorneys asked for a change of venue due to the extensive news coverage of both the Mahato and Eve Carson murder cases.  The two murders occurred within two months of each other.

An Orange County jury found Lovette guilty of the murder of Eve Carson in December, 2011. He is already serving a life sentence in prison on that conviction.


Eve Carson Killer To Be Re-Sentenced Monday

HILLSBOROUGH – Laurence Lovette Jr., one of two men convicted in the 2008 death of former UNC student body president Eve Carson, will be re-sentenced Monday.

Lovette, now 22, was convicted in 2011 of first-degree murder, kidnapping and armed robbery, and sentenced to life without the possibility for parole—but recent Supreme Court ruling mandating review of automatic sentencing guidelines means that Lovette, who was 17 at the time of the murder, should be re-sentenced.

The re-sentencing hearing was originally scheduled for April 26 in Hillsborough.

Demario Atwater, 25, was also convicted in Carson’s death. He is serving two life terms in prison after pleading guilty to state and federal charges.