Local News

Suspect pleads not guilty in UNC shooting death

Posted November 17, 2011

— A Durham man was formally arraigned Thursday on charges in the fatal shooting three years ago of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's student body president.

Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., 20, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and several other charges in the March 5, 2008, death of Eve Marie Carson, who was kidnapped, robbed, shot and left dead on a residential street about a half-mile from the UNC campus.

Jury selection in scheduled to begin Nov. 29.

Attorneys argued several motions Thursday afternoon, including a defense request to prohibit prosecutors from showing jurors several photos taken of Carson at the crime scene.

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said the images, illustrating how her body was found, particularly her hands, and that they would be strong evidence for the jury to consider.

But defense attorney Karen Bethea-Shields said the photos are prejudicial and gruesome and that the state had other photos depicting the position of the body.

Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour denied the request.

Laurence Lovette Suspect pleads not guilty in UNC shooting death

An autopsy report indicates that Carson was shot five times, with the fatal shot being a shotgun blast to the head. The report also says that she suffered a wound to her right hand – likely because she had raised her right arm to protect herself.

Prosecutors have said in previous hearings that the crime was random and that Lovette and another man, Demario James Atwater, went to Carson's home, abducted her and took her in her blue Toyota Highlander to make two $700 ATM withdrawals before killing her on Hillcrest Road.

Atwater is serving two life prison sentences after pleading guilty last year to first-degree murder and several federal charges. Woodall would not say whether Atwater might be called to testify in the trial.

Lovette faces a life prison sentence without the possibility of parole if he's convicted. He can't receive the death penalty because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling limiting the death penalty to those over age 18 at the time of a capital crime.

Lovette is also one of two men charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 18, 2008, death of 29-year-old Abhijit Mahato, a Duke University graduate student found dead in his off-campus apartment. A date hasn't been set for that trial.


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  • beachboater Nov 21, 2011

    He brutally kills two, and we have to feed and cloth, and entertain him for the rest of his life. It is amazing to me that a 17 year old can become such a hardened criminal with no respect for life whatsoever.

  • Gr8FunMan Nov 18, 2011

    To Smokewagon....who said "It is a sad day in America....the takers from society are killing the providers to society...."
    These animals are taught act as they do, and are taught that it's acceptable. We have only ourselves to blame for standing by and allowing special classes of citizens to be created.

  • snshine62d Nov 18, 2011

    CONVICT him and send him away for life.

    Maybe he'll have an accident with some of the inmates in jail. And, do you think he is showing everyone in jail how "bad" he is?

  • anne53ozzy Nov 18, 2011

    Words cannot espress....When this terrible crime occurred, so many were insisting it was not about gangs. I think we all know better now. As are hate crimes deplorable and handled in a particular manner, I believe gang-related crimes ought to handled in the same manner. This subculture that permeates the country has got to be addressed in a severe manner. All the chatter and activity over drugs does little to stop the ever growing issue of this "business" and its rights of passage.

  • Objective Scientist Nov 18, 2011

    Not guilty to EVERYTHING! The evidence has not yet been presented in court but it is impossible to believe he is without fault in Carson's death. Guess his attorneys decided to take a "shotgun" approach in declaring NOT guilty to anything and everything thinking they have a "chance" for "not guilty" to stick with one or more charges. Carson... on the other hand, had NO chance against the shotgun used on her.

  • Gr8FunMan Nov 18, 2011

    Still very noteworthy that it's never a "hate" crime when blacks are the perpetrators. Had it been the other way around, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would have been here.

  • Mark Hayes Nov 18, 2011

    The face of a coward.

  • Mr. D3 Nov 18, 2011

    "I guess we will find out soon if the rumors are true that she knew these guys before that terrible day"..tnjed

    Very thoughtful of you to bring up a baseless rumor like that, but it wouldn't make any difference if she did, so you can go back to listening to hippie jams and hating on murder victims.

  • Lead by Example Nov 18, 2011

    CONVICT him and send him away for life.

  • Raptor06 Nov 18, 2011

    "He can't receive the death penalty because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling limiting the death penalty to those over age 18 at the time of a capital crime."

    You're just as dead when murdered by a "person" less than 18 as when murdered by one 18 and older. He knew what he was doing when he murdered that young woman. He was trying to be "gangsta." He should be treated like one...Cagney style!