DURHAM — Laurence Lovette rejected a plea deal offer in the slaying of a Duke University graduate engineering student, it was revealed Monday in Durham County Superior Court.
No details of the deal proposed by the Durham County District Attorney's Office were released, but Lovette decided to plead not guilty and go to trial. Jury selection for the trial began Monday. Lovette is charged with robbery and murder in the 2008 death of 29-year-old Abhijit Mahato, who was found shot to death Jan. 18 at his off-campus Durham apartment.
He is serving a life sentence without parole for the 2008 fatal shooting of Eve Carson, student body president at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Presiding Judge Jim Hardin approved a defense motion this morning that prohibits the prosecution from referring to Carson's slaying during jury selection and opening remarks.
Lovette is represented by Durham attorneys Karen Bethea-Shields and Kevin Bradley. Jim Dornfried and Stormy Ellis are prosecutors on the case.