AUBURN, Ala. (AP) – A man arrested after a car and foot chase by police who suspected him in a string of robberies was charged with capital murder in the abduction and shooting death of an Auburn University student, police said Saturday.

Courtney Lockhart was arrested Friday in Phenix City, about 30 miles from the campus where 18-year-old Lauren Burk was a freshman. She was found shot on the side of an off-campus road Tuesday night and her car was found burning in a campus parking lot.

Lockhart tried to flee Phenix City police after being pulled over Friday, Auburn Assistant Police Chief Thomas Dawson said.

“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, 23, was charged with three capital counts accusing him of murder along with kidnapping, robbery and attempted rape, Dawson said.

He wouldn’t say what led police to charge Lockhart in the student’s killing or divulge evidence linking Lockhart to that crime.

Dawson said investigators have a photo of the suspect that was enhanced with the help of NASA, but he wouldn’t say how the photo was obtained.

“We have the right individual in jail, I’m 100 percent sure of that,” 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.

Lockhart, from rural Smiths in Russell County, was in custody Saturday with bail set at $250,000, Dawson said. He may still be charged with robberies, Dawson said. There was no immediate word if he had a lawyer to speak for him; if he is indigent, a lawyer could be appointed at a Lee County Circuit Court hearing Monday in Auburn.

Burk, of Marietta, Ga., was a member of the Delta Gamma sorority. Auburn University planned a campus-wide memorial service for her Monday.


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