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2nd US teen charged in Mahato case

Abhijit Mahato, 29, from Jharkhand, was found dead on Jan 18 at his Duke University campus home in Durham, North Carolina.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Washington
UPDATED ON MAR 15, 2008 10:08 PM IST

A second American teenager has been formally charged in the killing of Indian doctoral student Abhijit Mahato at Duke University and held without bail for the murder of another student in the same campus.

Mahato, 29, from Jharkhand, was found dead on January 18 at his campus home in Durham in North Carolina and an autopsy report released on Friday said Mahato had a pillow put over his face before he was shot in the forhead.

Stephan Oates, 19, has already been held without bail in the killing.

Police arrested the second suspect Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr, 17, in connection with killing of Duke University student Eve Carson on March 5 and found some of Mahato's possessions with him.

Durham County prosecutor Tracey Cline said they linked Lovette to Mahato's killing through phone records, a vehicle and items stolen from the Indian's apartment.

Lovette, wearing an orange jumpsuit and in shackles, was on Friday, charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Mahato and Durham District Court Judge Craig B Brown fixed his bail at $3 million.

He faced a similar charge in the killing of Carsen and was held without bail. Both cases appear to be robberies.

Lovette's accomplice Demario James Atwater had already been charged in the murder of Carson who reportedly lived near Mahato's house.

Cline said in court that investigators discovered Mahato's cell phone was used to call Atwater. Atwater, 21, has not been charged in Mahato's death. Also a vehicle linked to Mahato's killing was seen at a residence Lovette visited often, she said.

A hearing in the Mahato's case was scheduled for March 27.

Presiding Judge Craig Brown also called on authorities to take steps to end gang violence. "I'm sending an SOS to Raleigh. I expect them to hear it," he said.

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