Man arrested In Auburn student's murder

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March 9, 2008

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -- Police announced today that a suspect has been 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.

He was charged in the killing of the 18-year-old freshman from Marietta.

Dawson, at a news conference, said 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.

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.

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 said yesterday that forensic reports found that Burk had not been sexually assaulted.

Dawson said Lockhart tried to flee Phenix City police after
being pulled over Friday.

Auburn investigators later connected him to the student's killing and capital murder charges were filed. Dawson says Lockhart may still be charged with robberies in Phenix City and Georgia.

Dawson said Lockhart was being held today in the Russell County Jail on $250,000 bond.

Auburn University will hold a campus-wide memorial service for Burk on Monday. Speakers will include Auburn President Jay Gogue and Alison Penuel, president of Burk's sorority, Delta Gamma.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press.

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