Jury selection continues in trial for LSU grad student murders

Casey Gathers (L), Michael Lewis (R) (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)
Casey Gathers (L), Michael Lewis (R) (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)
Chandrashekar Komma and Kiran Allam
Chandrashekar Komma and Kiran Allam

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Jury selection continues Tuesday for the trial against two men charged in the murders of two LSU graduate students in 2007.

Casey Gathers and Michael Lewis are accused of killing Chandrasekhar Komma and Kiran Allam at the Edward Gay Apartments on Dec. 13, 2007. Judge Chip Moore issued a gag order for the jury selection phase of the trial, citing excessive media coverage as the reason for his decision.

A third person accused in the case, Devin Parker, made a plea deal and agreed to testify during this trial.

Gathers is the suspected triggerman in the shooting deaths of the two victims. Their bodies were found after what police called a home invasion of Allam's apartment on the edge of the Baton Rouge campus.

The victims were both international students from India. Investigators reported they were shot in the head execution style inside the apartment. The LSU Police Department said it received a call of about a medical emergency. Police arrived on the scene and found the two men shot, one bound with a cable.

Komma was a 31-year-old biology student from Kurnool and Allam was a 33-year-old chemistry student from Hyderabad.

Later, detectives learned there was a witness. Someone reported seeing three black men walking away from the crime scene and leaving in a car that was parked next to the apartment.

In 2008, Gathers and Lewis were arrested in Vermilion Parish. The third suspect was identified as Parker. He was arrested on an unrelated simple robbery charge by the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office.

In the arrest warrant, police said, "Devin Parker admitted that he was present with the co-defendants at the apartment complex on the LSU campus where the two murders occurred." According to the warrant, "Parker described what occurred inside...including the fact that Casey Gathers shot both of the victims."

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