Police mistakenly charge Lovette with lesser crime

May 22, 2008 8:36:12 AM PDT
A city investigation shows a Durham Police detective mis-charged murder suspect Laurence Lovette, Jr. when he faced burglary charged last fall. The mistake led to Lovette being charged in November with felony breaking and entering instead of a more serious count of first-degree burglary, according to a report written by City Manager Patrick Baker and released by the Durham Herald Sun.

Lovette, 17, has been charged with the January robbery and shooting death of Duke University graduate student Abhijit Mahato and the kidnapping and murder of UNC Chapel Hill student body president Eve Carson in March.

Lovette was arrested and convicted of breaking and entering after breaking into a Hope Valley home on November 7, 2007. He was released on probation after pleading guilty to a reduced charge of misdemeanor breaking and entering on January 16, 2008. Two days later, Mahato's body was found inside his apartment off Anderson Street in Durham.

According to the Herald Sun report, Cpl. Patrice Vickers assured the owners of the Hope Valley home that Lovette would face first-degree burglary charges based on the fact the crime was conducted at night while the homeowners were home. According to police records, Lovette was instead charged with breaking and entering ? a lesser charge.

Based on the investigation conducted by City Manager Patrick Baker, "She [Vickers] simply put in the wrong citation."

Baker and Police Chief Jose Lopez said Vickers -- who was promoted to sergeant in March -- owned up to the mistake. She "stepped right up and said, 'This is what I should have done, and it didn't happen,' " Lopez said. "We're satisfied it's not going to happen again." Lopez added that Vickers did a good job solving the break-in.

Click here to read Patrick Baker's complete report Provide by the Durham Herald Sun


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