The chairman of LSU’s chemistry department testified Friday he went to campus police the morning after two LSU graduate students from India were found murdered in December 2007 and told police that a former LSU graduate student might be a potential suspect.
Andrew Maverick, who also is a chemistry professor at LSU, said he told police that Anatol Litoshka may have held a “grudge” against Kiran Kumar Allam — one of the slain students, and also faculty members who voted in mid-2006 to remove Litoshka from the graduate program in which Allam was a member.
“I suspected Mr. Litoshka might have done something,” Maverick testified during a hearing on several motions filed by the attorney for Casey Jermaine Gathers, the alleged triggerman in the Dec. 13, 2007, killing of Allam, 33, and Chandrasekhar Reddy Komma, 31.
The two were shot to death at Allam’s Edward Gay apartment on the edge of LSU’s campus.
Gathers, 24, and Michael Jermaine Lewis, 23, both of Baton Rouge, each are charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the slayings. There is no trial date currently set.
Devin Jamell Parker, 23, also of Baton Rouge, pleaded guilty in 2011 to armed robbery and accessory charges in the case and agreed to testify in any future legal proceedings. He has not been sentenced.
State District Judge Chip Moore on Friday denied a defense motion to suppress — or bar the jury from hearing — Parker’s statements to police.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III, who attended Friday’s hearing, said afterward his office is “confident in the case that we have.”
“It’s completely bogus,” he said of the defense contention that Litoshka may have killed Allam and Komma or hired someone to kill Allam. “It’s disingenuous. He’s got a right to present a defense, but it has to be relevant.”
Beau Brock, a former East Baton Rouge Parish prosecutor who represents Gathers, said he is “searching for the truth.”
“I wish other people were searching for the truth,” he said.
Chip Moore said he will rule Feb. 20 on a defense request that the judge instruct the jury when the case comes to trial that someone else, namely the disgruntled Litoshka, could have had a motive to kill.
“Somebody else had a motive and a plan to do this,” Brock argued to the judge.
Prosecutor Steve Danielson countered that Litoshka, of Belarus, left the United States on Feb. 17, 2007, and never returned, meaning he was not a “viable suspect.”
“It’s an undue waste of time for the jury to even consider,” Danielson argued.
Graca Vicente, a professor in LSU’s chemistry department, testified she supervised Allam and Litoshka in their graduate program. She said both Allam and Litoshka had come to LSU from the University of Arizona.
“Mr. Litoshka didn’t get along very well with the people in my group,” she said. “He had a problem getting along with people at the University of Arizona as well.”
Vicente said she once accompanied Allam to the LSU Police Department so he could file a report about Litoshka allegedly pushing and threatening him.