In just over a year as an adult, Laurence Lovette racked up quite a criminal record. And the supervision of Laurence Lovette's probation was less than stellar. State officials have already admitted that, but Eyewitness News has learned that even Lovette's probation officer, Chalita Thomas, is no stranger to the law.
Keith Acree with the NC Department of Correction explains, "I'd characterize that as unusual but not unheard of. I mean, you know, we hire human beings off the streets like other folks do."
According to probation records, the probation officer in charge of Laurence Lovette never met with the teenager.
Officer Chalita Thomas was pulled off the case in early March, due to a drunken-driving charge. Reportedly, she went by Lovette's mother's home in Durham once in late February, but he was not there.
Thomas' record shows eleven criminal charges filed against her in four counties over five years. The charges include carrying a concealed weapon and two DWI's – the latest DWI charge was in Wake County last year. "That's one of the issues we're looking into as part of our investigation," Acree said.
Acree says the Department of Corrections is conducting an extensive investigation of Lovette's probation and the probation for the other man accused of killing Eve Carson – Demario Atwater.
State documents obtained by Eyewitness News show that Lovette's probation records were updated on the day Lovette was arrested, apparently by Thomas, his probation officer.
State officials say that's part of their investigation, but they don't believe it is a coincidence. "After it became known who the suspects in the Eve Carson murder were, and we realized that they were out probationers, the supervisor directed the probation officer to take all the notes she had from her contacts with Lovette and enter those in the computer," Acree explained.
Some of the late entries, five total, on Lovette's probation records appear to embellish earlier entries, which violate Division of Community Corrections policies. They require officers to record their notes by the end of the next business day.
How much of the blame, if any, in the Lovette case falls on his probation officer remains to be seen. Acree says, "I think some of this certainly we're probably going to see falls at the officer level. But there are probably some systemic issues we need to look at here as well."
Thomas, 26, has been put on desk duty at least until the state's investigation is complete.