Eve Carson murder case timeline
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's student body president, Eve Carson, 22, of Athens, Ga., was shot and killed in the early hours of March 5, 2008, and left dead on a street near the UNC campus. Trace the case from the very beginning using the timeline below. (All information is based on North Carolina Superior and U.S. District court documents, 911 calls, autopsy results, public statements, court proceedings and WRAL News reports.)
April 3, 2007
- Rising senior Eve Marie Carson takes office as student body president at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “I’ve loved UNC since my first week here,” she says. “This year will be a year of growth and inclusion.”
March 3, 2008
- Demario James Atwater, 21, appears in Wake County court for a probation hearing stemming from a Feb. 20 arrest, but the case is continued until March 31 because of a clerical error.
- Carson attends a Nike fan appreciation event, where she receives a white "Be True" wristband and a special pair of Carolina blue shoes commemorating the event.
- Carson and friend Margaret Worth attend the UNC-Florida State game at the Dean E. Smith Center.
- 1:30 a.m. – Carson’s roommate, Justin Singer, goes out, leaving Carson behind studying at their home at 202 Friendly Lane.
- 3:30 a.m. – UNC student Caroline Harper is talking on her cellphone in her car in the parking lot of the Pi Beta Phi sorority house on East Rosemary Street when sees two men staring at her about 15 feet from her car. Frightened, she drives away and sees the men through her rearview window walking toward Friendly Lane.
- 3:37 a.m. – Carson last uses her computer.
- 3:55 a.m. – Someone makes two transactions totaling $700 – the maximum daily amount – from Carson's bank account at a Bank of America ATM at University Mall in Chapel Hill, 851 Willow Drive. Five attempts to withdraw more money are unsuccessful.
- 4:30 a.m. – Singer returns home to find the door open and lights on and Carson and her 2005 Toyota Highlander missing. He calls Carson on her cellphone, but no one answers.
- 4:44 a.m. – Someone attempts to withdraw $200 from a Bank of America ATM at Northgate Mall in Durham, 1058 West Club Blvd.
- 5:08 a.m. – Alexandria Bokinsky calls 911 after hearing gunshots and a woman's scream behind her house on Marilyn Drive, off East Franklin Street, about a mile from the UNC campus. Chapel Hill police officer Scott Falise finds a young woman lying in the road at Hillcrest Road and Hillcrest Circle. She has no ID on her but is wearing a gold locket and white "Be True" wristband.
- 12:39 p.m. – Someone attempts to use Carson’s ATM card twice at Morehead Mini Mart in Durham, 1601 Morehead Ave.
- 2 a.m. – Concerned she hasn’t heard from her roommate, Anna Lassiter goes to the Chapel Hill Police Department, where she identifies Carson as the woman found the day prior. Investigators trace Carson's cellphone to a wooded area along eastbound U.S. Highway 15/501.
- 2:16 a.m.– Someone makes three transactions totaling $700 at the Northgate Mall ATM. Three other attempts are unsuccessful.
- Afternoon – Thousands of people gather at Polk Place on the UNC campus for an impromptu memorial service upon hearing about Carson’s death.
- 2 p.m. – Police find Carson’s SUV near the intersection of North and Hillsborough streets.
- Evening – Thousands gather in The Pit on the UNC campus for a candlelight vigil.
- Someone makes two attempts at 12:54 a.m. to withdraw money from Carson’s checking and savings accounts the Carolina Food Mart in Durham, 1002 N. Alston Ave. They are unsuccessful, because the bank has placed a transaction stop on the accounts.
- Chapel Hill police ask the public for help in identifying a man in a surveillance photo from the Willow Drive ATM.
- Carson is buried at First United Methodist Church in her hometown of Athens, Ga. Chapel Hill investigators say they believe a second person is in the back seat of the SUV in the surveillance photo.
- Police release two new surveillance photographs from the Carolina Food Mart.
- Durham police arrest Atwater, 21, of 414-B Macon St., at about 5 a.m. at a house on Rosedale Avenue in Durham. He is charged with first-degree murder.
- Chapel Hill police issue an arrest warrant for Lovette, whom they’ve identified as the driver in the ATM bank photo. Atwater is identified as the man in the convenience store photos.
- Lovette, of 1213 Shepherd St. in Durham, surrenders at 4:16 a.m. to authorities in Durham and is charged with first-degree murder. He is subsequently charged in the Jan. 18 shooting death of Duke University graduate student Abhijit Mahato, 29.
- Robert L. Guy, director of the Department of Correction's Division of Community Corrections, launches an internal investigation to determine why the system overlooked Atwater, on probation at the time of Carson’s death.
- Federal investigators open an investigation, and federal sources say they are looking at carjacking charges, which can carry a death penalty if prosecutors can prove the carjacking was committed during a homicide.
- UNC holds a memorial service at the Dean E. Smith Center to celebrate Carson's life. An estimated 10,000 people, including Carson's family and hometown friends, attend the event.
- An Orange County grand jury indicts Lovette and Atwater on first-degree murder charges.
- A report by Durham City Manager Patrick Baker reveals that Lovette should have been in jail at the time of Carson's slaying but was not because police didn't file appropriate charges against him during a November break-in.
- Carson's autopsy report is released. Medical examiners found she was shot four times in the right shoulder, right upper arm, right buttocks and right cheek with an Excam GT-27 .25-caliber semi-automatic pistol. She was also shot once with a sawed-off Harrington & Richardson Topper-model 12-gauge shotgun in the right temple. She also suffered a wound to her right hand – likely because she used it to cover her face.
- An Orange County grand jury indicts Atwater and Lovette on additional charges of first-degree kidnapping, first-degree robbery with a dangerous weapon, felonious larceny, possession of a firearm by a felon and felonious possession of stolen goods. Atwater is also indicted on a charge of possession of a weapon of mass death and destruction.
- Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall says he will seek the death penalty against Atwater. Lovette cannot face the death penalty, because he was a minor at the time of Carson’s death.
- A federal grand jury indicts Atwater on a charge of carjacking resulting in death, which could allow federal authorities to seek a death penalty.
Jan. 16, 2009
- Federal prosecutors announce they will seek the death penalty against Atwater.
- Atwater is indicted on federal charges of kidnapping and using firearms during and in relation to carjacking.
- On the anniversary of Carson’s death, UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp calls on students, faculty and staff to give back to the community as a way to remember her. "Our traditions of public service and access never met a better friend,” he says. “She never quit pushing us to do more for our world and for each other."
April 19, 2010
- Atwater pleads guilty to federal charges of carjacking resulting in death, kidnapping resulting in death, carrying and using firearms during and in relation to carjacking and kidnapping resulting in death, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a short-barreled shotgun without such weapon being properly registered. Under his plea, Atwater agrees to life imprisonment.
- Atwater pleads guilty to state charges, including first-degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, first-degree kidnapping and possession of a firearm by a felon and is sentenced to life in prison for murder and 275 to 349 months for the other crimes.
Dec. 20, 2011
- A jury finds Lovette guilty of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree armed robbery, felonious larceny and felonious possession of stolen goods. He is sentenced to life in prison without parole for murder and 177-231 months in prison for the other charges.
June 3, 2013
- Due to a legal technicality, Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour re-sentences Lovette to life in prison without the possibility of parole, saying he did not believe there is any chance of the now-22-year-old being rehabilitated.
- Lovette speaks publicly for the first time about the crime: "You know, people make mistakes. Nobody's perfect. I'm not the monster that y'all made me out to be. I know that this has been a traumatic ordeal for everybody involved. For that, I send my condolences to everybody who's been affected by it. If it means anything to anybody, it means something to me."
May 6, 2014
- The North Carolina Court of Appeals upholds Lovette's June 2013 life sentence
Published: 2008-03-18 15:17:00
Updated: 2014-05-29 08:30:40