A 19-year-old youth, charged with the killing of Indian graduate student Abhijit Mahato, has been ordered held without bond even as "shocked" Indian students in North America lauched an online petition asking New Delhi to take up the issue of their security.
Durham County District Court judge Elaine Bushfan ordered that Stephen Lavance Oates be held without bond.
The judge also ruled that Oates be held on $1 million bond on charges of robbing 18 people, including 29-year-old Mahato, a PhD Student at the Duke University in North Carolina who was found shot dead inside his apartment last weekend.
Oates and three other people, including two 14-year-olds, were apprehended after a two-county police chase Tuesday night. All four were charged with armed robbery and evading arrest.
"Shocked" Indian students in North America have launched an online petition addressed to the Indian Government and the Indian Embassy in Washington where they have lashed out at the alleged "apathy" of local autorities in the case.
The students coming from all over the US and Canada say the murder of Mahato, the third such incident in about a month, has left them worried and fearful. Two Indian Ph.D. students were killed in Louisiana last month.