Durham News

July 24, 2014

Prosecutors try to link Lovette to stolen car in Mahato murder

A woman told the jury in the trial of Laurence Alvin Lovette that she woke up on a January morning in 2008 to discover that someone had silently slipped into her bedroom and stolen her car keys.

A woman told the jury in the trial of Laurence Alvin Lovette that she woke up on a January morning in 2008 to find someone had silently slipped into her bedroom and stolen her car keys.

She made the discovery on Jan. 17, 2008 when she looked outside and saw her Mercedes missing from the driveway. As she turned to go to the kitchen to call the police, she saw that her purse, which she kept on her bedroom dresser, was on the floor of her den with the contents spilled out on the floor.

“When I saw the purse, I was devastated then,” said Margie Scott. “That’s when I realized someone had been in the house and they were in the bedroom and we heard nothing. We were sleeping.”

Lovette, 23, is standing trial for the murder of Duke graduate student Abhijit Mahato, 29, who was found shot to death in his apartment on Anderson Street near the Duke campus on Jan. 18, 2008.

Prosecutors are trying to show that Lovette stole the Mercedes and used it to drive Mahato to a bank ATM to withdraw money from Mahato’s account.

A previous witness, Shanita Love, said she overheard Lovette say during that time period that he had broken into a house, found keys and stole a Mercedes.

Lovette is already serving a life sentence for kidnapping, robbing and killing UNC-Chapel Hill Student Body President Eve Carson on March 5, 2008.

Unlike in the Carson case, where Lovette was clearly seen in a photograph using a bank ATM at the time money was withdrawn from Carson’s account, the photos taken when money was withdrawn from Mahato’s accoun, show the top and front of a car that appears to be a Mercedes. The people in the car in the bank surveillance photograph are not visible.

A crime scene investigator testified Thursday she could not find any fingerprints on Scott’s purse, the contents of the purse or at the doorway where the break-in occurred.

A Durham police officer testified he found the stolen Mercedes on Jan. 20, 2008, in an apartment complex off Roxboro Road.

Another crime scene investigator testified she looked for fingerprints inside and outside of the Mercedes but could not find any.

Testimony is scheduled to continue Thursday afternoon.

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