Suspect Arrested in Slaying of Auburn University Student

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - A suspect is arrested and charged with capital murder in the abduction and shooting death of Auburn University student Lauren Burk.

Auburn Assistant Police Chief Thomas Dawson says 23-year-old Courtney Lockhart was arrested in Phenix City after a chase yesterday and charged in the killing of the 18-year-old freshman from Marietta, Ga.

At a news conference this morning, Dawson says Lockhart was initially pursued by Phenix City police as a suspect in robberies and later charged in Lee County with three capital counts accusing him of murder along with kidnapping, robbery and attempted rape.

A court hearing is set for Monday.

Burk was found suffering from a gunshot wound on the side of a road about five miles from the campus Tuesday night. She died later a hospital. Her 2001 Honda Civic was found that night burning in a campus parking lot.

Investigators had been tightlipped but said there were several promising leads. Dawson says it all came together late yesterday afternoon.

Dawson says investigators don't believe Lockhart, from rural Smiths in Russell County, had any connection to Auburn University or that he knew Burk before abducting her.

While the charges include murder in the course of an attempted rape, Auburn police say forensic reports found that Burk had not been sexually assaulted.

Dawson says Lockhart tried to flee Phenix City police after being pulled over Friday as a possible suspect in a string of robberies.

In a short pursuit, Lockhart's car broke down and he was captured by officers while trying to flee on foot.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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