Jury selection to begin in case of UNC student leader's death

Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr.
November 29, 2011 8:48:17 AM PST
One of the men charged with killing former UNC Student Body President Eve Carson was in court Monday.

Despite his attorney's efforts, jurors in the Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr. trial will learn about the other murder he is charged with. Months before the 2008 shooting death of Carson, Duke grad student Abhijit Mahato was found shot to death in his off-campus apartment.

After Lovette was arrested in connection with Carson's murder, he was also charged in the Mahato's case.

Monday, his attorneys tried to convince a judge to restrict witness statements about the Mahato murder investigation, questioning their credibility.

"You have hearsay upon hearsay," said Defense Attorney Karen Bethea-Shields. "So you're boot-strapping and trying to get in the backdoor where you can't get into the front, affecting his ability to cross-examine every witness who testifies in court."

But prosecutors contend the events leading up to Carson's kidnapping and murder show Lovette had a plan.

"The witness indicated that the defendant said to him he needed the money to get back on his feet and he was going to start robbing people and giving them head shots," said Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall.

A clear motive, according to Woodall, that jurors deciding Lovette's fate should hear. The judge agreed despite defense concerns the jury could be confused and possibly biased during the trial.

Jury selection starts Tuesday morning and is expected to last several days.

If convicted, Lovette could face up to life in prison. Demario Atwater, the second man charged in Carson's death is serving a life term in federal prison.

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