Roommate testifies in I-540 trial

October 1, 2009 8:02:12 AM PDT
The roommate of the man accused of killing a NCCU student and leaving her body along I-540 testified in his murder trial Thursday.Steven Randolph told the jury that Bishop Robert Reaves propositioned him for sex and told him he could live in their house rent free if he'd let him perform oral sex on him.

Randolph said he refused.

Prosecutors say Reaves was jealous of the affair that Randolph was having with the victim - Latrese Curtis - and saw her as an obstacle to him having a homosexual relationship with Randolph.

Randolph said Reaves' advances made him so nervous that he purchased a gun for protection.

Prosecutors say Reaves followed Curtis from NCCU in Durham to Raleigh, forcing her to pull over along I-540 and then repeatedly slashed and stabbed her with a knife. Her body was discovered by drivers passing on the highway January 30, 2008.

Reaves, who was a minister at Cedar International Fellowship in Durham, is charged with first-degree murder. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

Also Thursday, a friend of the 21-year-old murder victim testified about a phone call she got from her phone the night she died. She said all she heard was wind and footsteps and nothing after that. She said it was unusual for Curtis to call her so late.

"She was a friendly person. She had a very small voice and it would brighten your day. She was motivated at school and a hard worker at work. She was kind and could get along with anyone," said Kimberly Parker.

Thursday was the third day of testimony in the case.

On Wednesday, several investigators from the Wake County Bureau of Identification, including the state medical examiner took the stand. One of them testified he found a knife in Reaves' car months after it had been impounded as evidence in the case.

Wake County Sheriff's investigator Alfred Starnberg said he found the weapon hidden behind a seat while doing another search of the vehicle.

State troopers say they saw both Reaves' and Curtis's vehicles parked along I-540 the night of the killing. Curtis's body was found along the opposite side of the highway the next morning.

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