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Abhijit Mahato (May 26, 1978 – January 18, 2008), a 29-year old graduate student from India at Duke University, was found shot to death in his apartment at 1600 Anderson Street, several blocks south of the Duke campus in Durham, North Carolina on January 18, 2008.

Life

Abhijit Mahato, born in Tatanagar and raised in Kolkata, India, was studying for an engineering doctorate degree at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering. Mahato had been working on tire-safety research sponsored by Michelin at the Duke Computational Mechanics Laboratory (DCML) and was preparing to take his Ph.D. qualifying exams.

His adviser and friend, professor Tod Laursen, characterized Mahato as an intellectually curious and exceptionally kind, outgoing man. “He made friends very easily and always had a smile on his face. Our research team was particularly close to Abhijit - he was such a pleasure to be around. He always went out of his way to engage with people and would stop whatever he was doing and help anyone who asked. I was particularly struck by how very well read in both poetry and literature Abhijit was and how much he enjoyed conversation with others about what they were reading,” Laursen said.

Before coming to Duke, Mahato worked for GE Global Research in Bangalore, India for two years working in finite element analysis. "He was an extremely successful engineer at General Electric, and the company has actually submitted patents for some of the work Abhijit did while he was there," Laursen said.

“We were working together on an industry funded research project and Abhijit’s prior industry experience helped him develop close working relationships with our partner. He understood their needs as a business and was a pleasure to work with,” said Laursen. Mahato earned a mechanical engineering degree from Jadavpur University, Kolkata in 2001 and a master of technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur in 2004.

His hope was to return, someday, to India and teach at the university level.[1]

Murder

On January 18, 2008, three friends found the body of Mahato in his off-campus apartment. His face was in a pillow, and he had died from a single gunshot wound. Durham police considered Mahato's slaying a random crime – with robbery being the motive.

Two men were charged in his death, Stephen Lavance Oates and Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr. Durham police charged Oates with first-degree murder and other charges five days after Mahato was found dead inside his apartment. Nearly two months later, according to an arrest warrant, Mahato's cell phone helped Durham police also link Lovette. By that time, Lovette had been arrested in the March 5, 2008 murder of University of North Carolina student Eve Carson.

Lovette allegedly stole a cell phone, wallet and an iPod – with a combined value of about $300 – before Mahato was murdered.[2]

External links

References

  1. Carlson, Kelcey. "Money withdrawn from slain Duke student's savings". Local News (Raleigh, NC: WRAL). http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/4314757/. Retrieved 2009-02-08.
  2. Carlson, Kelcey. "Money withdrawn from slain Duke student's savings". Local News (Raleigh, NC: WRAL). http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/4314757/. Retrieved 2009-02-08.
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