Eve Carson’s convicted killer wants second trial moved

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Laurence Lovette (left), Abhijit Mahato (middle) and Eve Carson (right).

DURHAM, N.C. — A man convicted of killing UNC Student Body President Eve Carson wants his second murder trial moved out of Durham.

The Durham Herald Sun reported that Laurence Lovette’s attorney filed a venue change, saying his client can’t get a fair trial there on charges he killed Abhijit Mahato because of negative publicity.

Lovette was sentenced in June to life in prison for murdering 22-year-old Carson on March 5, 2008.

Lovette allegedly murdered Mahato, a 29-year-old Duke University graduate student, about a month and a half before he killed Carson.

Lovette’s attorney said the conviction in Carson’s death is mentioned in each media story about the Mahato case.

In an affidavit, Durham County Public Defender Lawrence Campbell described the media coverage on the murders as “overwhelmingly negative” toward Lovette and “overwhelmingly sympathetic” toward Carson and Mahato.

Lovette’s attorneys said if the trial is held in Durham, people with hostile feelings toward Lovette may be called as jurors.

Lovette was in court Friday so attorneys could discuss upcoming hearing dates and deadlines. A motions hearing is scheduled for the week of Oct. 7.

Mahato was found shot to death in his apartment, south of the Duke campus in January 2008. He was an engineering grad student from India.

In the Carson case, prosecutors said Lovette, who was 17 at the time, drove his mother’s car to nearby Chapel Hill with Demario Atwater to find someone to rob.

The pair happened upon Carson and shot her five times for her ATM card and because she had seen their faces, prosecutors said. Her body was left in the street.

Carson was described as a busy Morehead scholar and much-liked student leader from Athens, Ga. Friends said she regularly stayed up all night to do her school work.