Durham, N.C., mayor asks why murder suspect wasn't in jail

Durham, N.C., Mayor Bill Bell on Monday night called for a formal investigation into whether a teenager accused of killing two college students should have been in jail when the crimes occurred.

He hopes the answers can help target the reform efforts being made in the wake of the shooting deaths of Eve Carson, president of the UNC-Chapel Hill student body, and Abhijit Mahato, a Duke University graduate student.

Bell received a letter from two residents informing him that Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., 17, was arrested in November and charged with breaking into their home. Lovette, along with Demario James Atwater, 21, is charged with killing Carson on March 5. Lovette also is charged with killing Mahato in January. Lovette stayed in jail until January, when he pleaded guilty to a lesser crime and was given a 24-month suspended sentence and released.

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