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Opening statements now Wednesday in UNC murder trial

Posted December 6, 2011

— Opening statements are now expected Wednesday morning in the trial of a man charged in the shooting death of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's student body president more than three years ago.

WRAL.com archive: Eve Carson murder case

After six days of jury selection, prosecutors and defense attorneys chose the last alternate juror Tuesday afternoon in the case of Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., who is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Eve Carson.

Twelve jurors and two alternates had been chosen by Monday afternoon and Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour had initially anticipated opening statements after lunch Tuesday, a court spokeswoman said. When the process wasn't complete Tuesday morning, he rescheduled them for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

WRAL News plans to cover the trial live on WRAL.com. Sign up for breaking news and video alerts to be notified when opening statements begin.

Authorities say Lovette, 21, and Demario Atwater kidnapped Carson, 22, and took her to several ATMs, eventually withdrawing $1,400. Her body was found in the early-morning hours of March 5, 2008, about a mile from the Chapel Hill campus. She had been shot five times with a handgun and a 12-gauge shotgun.

Last year, Atwater, 25, pleaded guilty to state and federal charges in the case and was sentenced to two life prison terms.

Lovette will not face the death penalty because he was a minor at the time of the shooting.

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  • seriouslyrevoked Dec 7, 2011

    Animalistic humanity, sub human behavior, is increasingly seeming the norm. Our insane liberalism has crippled our ability to demand a moral society. The brutal rapes, beatings, robberies, and assault of the very young and old is commonplace. Videos of young men, usually of one ethnic group, cheering and laughing while some poor soul is being beaten is widespread. In this age of so called "hope and change" our leaders refuse to address this mayhem. These creatures are increasing in their numbers, making neighborhoods that just one generation ago were safe to walk, and we do nothing? Surely "we" need to discuss what happened to us? How have we become so weak? How many innocent lives must be destroyed before we say enough?

  • glck40 Dec 6, 2011

    I wonder would they get the same publicity if they had did the same thing to a NCCU student or a Shaw University student.......Just wondering

  • sparks Dec 6, 2011

    To the poster who commented about the publicity and outpouring of emotion over Eve Carson's murder.....you are right, at least in some respects. We need to remember these two individuals also murdered a Duke student. It is also highly likely they have been involved in a string of other crimes. Eve's murder touched so many because of who she was, how she lived her life, how she loved others, and how she gave back to her community. The young man at Duke, though not well known, was equally outstanding. To be slaughtered for no reason other than money and "fun" (as Atwater said....), is to see the depth of depravity in these two criminals. No one is saying other murder victims are unimportant; it just hurts so much, all over again, to contemplate what Eve Carson and the Duke student victim went through.

  • dollibug Dec 6, 2011

    It would be good IF we had a definite way to know who exactly is guilty and who is NOT guilty....as we know hardly does anyone ever plead guilty these days....it is sad when INNOCENT PEOPLE are sent to PRISON FOR CRIMES THAT THEY DID NOT DO...and before long....our country will have MORE PRISONERS THAN TAXPAYERS....and then what will our country do?

  • NC Native, Baptist, Voter Dec 6, 2011

    OpenM1nd--I agree with great your idea! If the banks/atm owners could do this across the board it would be wonderful! I don't think it would create any problems inasmuch as location of the atm is concerned, but rather, it would act the catalyst for other atm owners to join the team effort and do the same for their customers' safety. Good thinking OpenM1nd!!!!!!

  • mpheels Dec 6, 2011

    workerbee - It doesn't matter if Lovette pulled the trigger or not. If a person is killed during the commission of a felony, all parties involved in the felony are subject to murder charges. If the prosecution can prove that Lovette is guilty of kidnapping, car jacking, robbery, and assault, then he is guilty of murder. As I understand it, a lot of the jury selection questions revolved around potential jurors' understanding of this law, which indicates the defense is going to argue that Lovette didn't pull the trigger, while the prosecution will argue that it doesn't matter since he was a conspirator in the overall series of events.

  • Equinox Bandingo Dec 6, 2011

    What I still don't understand is why we don't have panic buttons built into ATM keypads like we do house alarms. I tried to offer this suggestion to my bank but they refused to listen. So I took it to another bank that did likewise. The idea is that if you put in your panic PIN, the police are dispatched to that location immediately and silently, without alarming the man putting the gun to your head. The Panic PIN should also freeze the account to cap the amount withdrawn to be no more than $50 until the bank is contacted during the next business day. But again, nobody will listen!

    That's a great idea, but the banks would be acknowledging that there is some danger associated with using their ATM... you can just imagine where that leads... the area wasn't well lighted, the ATM was in a known area of criminal activity etc etc etc...

  • Objective Scientist Dec 6, 2011

    trekkie13 posted: "Objective Scientist stated: "It appears the death penalty is permanently and irrevocably "off the table" for both these individuals...but I abhor that my tax dollars and those of many other "decent" people will be used to support them for the rest of their lives. Euthanization - like with a rabid dog - is what they deserve!!!"

    Atwater is serving life without parole in a FEDERAL prison and barring a Presidential pardon will likely never enter a North Carolina state prison. Basically it is not just NC taxpayers having to support Atwater now but all taxpayers in the country. Atwater can not get the death penalty now because that would be ex post facto-a Constitutional violation. Of course Lovette cannot get the death penalty because of US Supreme Court ruling."

    I did not limit my objection to tax dollars being spent on those individuals to tax dollars paid to the state of NC. I also acknowledged the death penalty was "off the table" for both. So - your point is???

  • sophiemom Dec 6, 2011

    Workerbee, that is an interesting thought. I have read that his buddy Atwater might be brought in to testify against him. I wonder what he might say. I am obviously not an attorney, but if your theory is correct, might an option such as second degree murder be on the table?

  • bloodystinch Dec 6, 2011

    workerbee, i think when a murder is facilitated by collaborative action you don't necessarily have to be the trigger person to be convicted of the killing. but i am not a lawyer, that just comes from recollection of news over the years.

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