Witness testifies about student's death

staff writerOctober 1, 2009 

RALEIGH — Steven Randolph, a former N.C. Central University basketball player, testified in Wake County Superior Court today about his relationship with Latrese Curtis, an N.C. Central University student found fatally stabbed on the edge of Interstate 540 nearly 19 months ago.

Prosecutors contend that Robert Lee Adams Reaves, a former pastor with whom Randolph lived, bludgeoned Curtis in a jealous rage after Randolph refused his sexual advances.

Randolph testified today that he had two sexual encounters with Curtis, a married woman who told him she was separated from her husband.

On Jan. 29, Randolph said, Curtis came to the home he shared with Reaves in the early evening. The two parted ways, Randolph said, at about 10 p.m. after a sexual liaison.

It was after that, prosecutors contend, that Reaves followed Curtis from the home he shared with Randolph, forced her to the side of the road and stabbed her to death before leaving her body under the Rolesville exit sign off I-540.

Randolph testified today about an unusual encounter he had with Reaves in the fall of 2007 after the first sexual encounter with Curtis.

The former pastor at Cedar International Fellowship in Durham asked Randolph about his sexual habits and raised the possibility of him working for an escort service.

"He asked me if I was a freak, as far as sexually," Randolph said.

Randolph said that after he realized the pastor, a man he called "the bishop," was making sexual advances toward him, he informed him that he was not homosexual or bisexual and was not interested in him sexually.

That encounter so disturbed Randolph, he said, that he left quickly, went to a friend's house and later got a gun from his cousin that he kept in his bedroom.

Reaves and Randolph had only been living together for several weeks when the exchange occurred. In the months after that, Randolph said, a string of unusual events happened. Tires were thrashed and threatening phone calls made..

Randolph, who met Curtis in the fall 2007 semester at NCCU, also had a girlfriend. Their relationship was rocky at the time, Randolph testified, but he spent much of his time after school at her home.

After his liaison with Curtis on Jan. 29, Randolph said, he went to his girlfriend's home in Durham to hang out with her and four or five other friends. That night, Curtis and Randolph exchanged several text messages and phone calls.

At 1:30 a.m., Randolph said, he went home, unaware of the pastor's whereabouts.

George Kelly, one of two defense lawyers representing Reaves, tried to raise questions about Randolph's testimony. This is the third day of the trial.

Jennifer Lindow laid out the prosecution's case in an opening statement on Tuesday.

Prosecutors have called crime scene investigators, law enforcement officers and other witnesses who say they saw Reaves' car near the homicide scene hours before Curtis was found dead on the side of the road.

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