Indian student murder: Suspect held in US

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New York, Jan 25: One of the accused in the murder of Indian student Abhijit Mahato, has also been charged with robbing 17 others, including three on the day of the crime exactly a week ago near the Durham University Campus in North Carolina.

District Judge Elaine Bushfan yesterday set a one million dollar bond for the robbery charges against the accused. The Judge also ordered the second accused identified as Stephen Lavance Oates, to be held without bond in the killing of Mahato, The News&Observer, a local newspaper in Durham said. Nineteen-year-old Oates was brought into the courtroom alone and nobody was near him when he was taken out. He has been accused of robbing a man in November and was charged with stealing from others.

The charge against him with regard to Mahato was that of taking a wallet and a cellphone.

Oates and three others, including two juveniles, were picked up after a police chase on Tuesday. The juveniles" names were not released by the police, but the other adult was identified in a police department statement as William Dozia Smith, a 20-year-old.

The suspects wore dark clothing and covered their faces with bandanas, the report said. Mahato, 29, was a student at Duke University"s Pratt School of Engineering. He was studying computational contact mechanics. Hailing from Tatanagar, Jharkhand, he was shot dead on January 18 in his apartment near the campus.

Last month two students from India were killed in an incident that still remains unresolved in Louisiana State University.

UNI

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