Local News

Lovette initially wasn't a suspect in Eve Carson's murder

Posted December 12, 2011
Updated December 13, 2011

— A Chapel Hill police investigator testified Monday that Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., who is on trial for first-degree murder, initially wasn't a suspect in the 2008 shooting death of Eve Carson, student body president at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Sgt. Celisa Lehew said she had a list of 12 suspects, including Demario Atwater Jr., 25, who pleaded guilty last year to state and federal charges in the case and is serving two life terms in prison.

Lovette was later added as the 13th suspect after Atwater's girlfriend, Shanita Love, told investigators that Lovette was involved in the murder.

Authorities also received a Crime Stoppers tip that Lovette, 21, was the man seen in a surveillance photo at an ATM, apparently using Carson's bank card.

Prosecutors say Lovette and Atwater kidnapped Carson, drove in her Toyota Highlander to ATMs in Chapel Hill and Durham, withdrew money and then shot her five times with a .25-caliber pistol and sawed-off shotgun in the middle of a street about a mile from the UNC campus.

Lehew also testified Monday about going to the crime scene to look at Carson's body and search the area for clues. She described seeing a large pool of blood under Carson's head and a large gunshot wound to her right temple. Carson's body was taken to the state Medical Examiner's Office in Chapel Hill and wasn't identified until after the autopsy, Lehew said.

Lovette trial testimony (Day 3, pt 2) Initial investigation not focused on Lovette

Carson's roommates gave authorities a picture of her and also described some of her distinguishing characteristics, such as Carson's curved spine and a mole on her right cheek, which helped authorities determine her identity, Lehew said.

The medical examiner told investigators that Carson was shot four times with a a .25-caliber pistol and then with one shot from a sawed-off shot gun. The autopsy also determined that Carson had not been sexually assaulted.

Atwater's girlfriend confirmed those details to police when they interviewed her, prior to that information being made public, Lehew said. Love also knew how much money was withdrawn from Carson's account and that she had about $9,000 total in the Bank of America account.

Defense attorney Karen Bethea-Shields questioned Love's motives and asked Lehew if it was possible Love knew those details because she was present when the crime occur. Lehew said there was no evidence that Love, or anyone else besides Lovette and Atwater were involved.

The defense also suggested that Love might have been motivated by reward money to give information or was trying to avoid be charged in the case. Lehew said Love collected no reward money for her help.

42 Comments

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  • chattycat Dec 13, 2011

    once again, no sound, no picture. How can this live stream be that difficult?

  • allisonpayne Dec 13, 2011

    Why we are wasting our tax payers money on this is beyond me. It is a shame.

  • Rico Dec 13, 2011

    You can voice an honest opinion but purely racist comments may be deemed offensive. seankelly15

    The fact that these killers are here among the living is offensive to me.

  • JAT Dec 13, 2011

    Hammerhead, moderating is one thing - that's fine. I don't want to see curse words or derogatory things on here either. But to remove a post because it's not "policitically correct" or too conservative is not moderating. That's determining what is suitable to be stated and that is censorship. As long as my post is relevant to the subject at hand, it should be allowed to be posted and seen.

  • JAT Dec 13, 2011

    So the defense lawyers claim to be wanting a fair trial so they try to shift the blame to a witness? Yeah, that's fair.

  • Hammerhead Dec 13, 2011

    "Political correctness is the enemy of the truth."

    I'm not sure most people can distiguish between PCness and simple respectfulness.

  • Hammerhead Dec 13, 2011

    "they aren't moderators.....they are CENSORS!!! I have had many innocuous posts that never saw the light of day, while others much more contentious did! Yes, it's WRALs right to censor what they want but that doesn't make it right."

    I've had fairly innocuous posts censored also, get over it, it's an internet forum. And unless, JAT, someone comes pounding on your door with an arrest warrant, WRAL is not infringing upon your right to free speech. You could say what you want without impugnity on the street corner, but WRAL reserves the right to "moderate" their own forum. Get it now?

  • ims1924 Dec 12, 2011

    seankelly15/ Sometimes the truth hurts. I don't call that being offensive.

  • turbo08 Dec 12, 2011

    "Lovette initially wasn't a suspect in Eve Carson's murder"

    Well he sure is now isn't he LOL.

  • georgegray Dec 12, 2011

    Isn't that the way it's supposed to work -- police follow ALL the credible leads they get, THEN, based on evidence charge someone. Sounds like good police work to me. Deciding that "so-and-so" was probably the killer then trying to find evidence to support that hypothesis would be bad police work.

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