Change of venue denied in Laurence Lovette murder trial


Laurence Lovette, 23, is accused of killing Abhijit Mahato in Jan. 2008 just two months before he was arrested for killing UNC Student Body President Eve Carson in a robbery. He's already been convicted for Carson's murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Lovette will stand trial in Durham County for Mahato's murder. A judge Wednesday denied a change of venue and a request to bring jurors in from Wilmington or Elizabeth City.

The judge, however, is allowing a request by the defense to individually interview potential jurors but only after they are given a short questionnaire about their knowledge of Lovette.

Over the last five years, Lovette's attorney said his client's name has been in the headlines more than 1,000 times. That is why she said keeping the trial in Durham County would result in an unfair trial. She said news coverage about the trial has been overwhelmingly negative and it would be difficult to find unbiased jurors.

Lovette rejected a plea deal saying he wanted to have his day in court.

The judge set a trial date for July. The defense says the trial could last three weeks.

The defense and prosecution have until June 9 to submit a questionnaire that will be given to jurors.

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