Arrest Made In Murder Of Auburn Student

Phenix City Police escort Courtney Lockhart, 23, left, of Smiths Station, to a car to be transported to the Russell County Jail Friday night, March 7, 2008 in Phenix City, Ala. Lockhart has been charged with capital murder in the abduction and shooting death of 18-year-old Auburn University student Lauren Burk. (AP Photo/Opelika-Auburn News, Cliff Williams) ** MANDATORY CREDIT AP/C. Williams, Opelika-Auburn News

A suspected robber was arrested and charged with capital murder in the abduction and shooting death of an Auburn University student, police announced Saturday.

Courtney Lockhart, 23, was arrested in Phenix City on Friday after a car and foot chase, Auburn Assistant Police Chief Thomas Dawson said. He was charged in the killing of Lauren Burk, an 18-year-old freshman from Marietta, Ga.

Burk was found shot on the side of a road about 5 miles from campus Tuesday night. She died later a hospital. Her 2001 Honda Civic was found that night burning in a campus parking lot.

Lockhart was initially sought as a suspect in a string of robberies in Phenix City and Georgia. He was later charged with three capital counts accusing him of murder along with kidnapping, robbery and attempted rape, Dawson said.

Investigators don't believe Lockhart had any connection to Auburn University or that he knew Burk before abducting her.

"I don't believe he targeted her that long, if he targeted her at all," Dawson said.

Investigators have a photo of the suspect that was enhanced with the help of NASA, Dawson said. He said the photo matched Lockhart, but he declined to say how the photo was obtained or divulge other evidence linking Lockhart to the student's killing.

"We have the right individual in jail, I'm 100 percent sure of that," Dawson said.

Dawson said Lockhart, from rural Smiths in Russell County, tried to flee Phenix City police after being pulled over Friday.

"His car matched the description of a vehicle in a string of robberies," Dawson said. When an officer approached the car at the traffic stop, Lockhart drove off, Dawson said.

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

Lockhart was being held Saturday in the Russell County Jail on $250,000 bond, Dawson said. He may still be charged with robberies, Dawson said.

Auburn University planned a campus-wide memorial service for Burk on Monday.
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