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Prosecution, defense rest in UNC murder trial

Posted December 15, 2011
Updated December 16, 2011

— After calling 43 witnesses over seven days, prosecutors rested their case Thursday afternoon in the trial of Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., who is charged with first-degree murder in the 2008 death of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student body president Eve Carson.

Lovette's defense attorneys offered no evidence, and Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour scheduled closing arguments for Monday morning to give attorneys time to prepare.

Testimony Thursday centered on cellphone records and surveillance video, which the state says put Lovette in Chapel Hill before Carson was found dead in a neighborhood about a mile from the UNC campus.

Michael Sutton, a special agent with the FBI, who said that, at 3:02 a.m. on March 5, 2008, Lovette's cellphone made a connection to a tower near East Franklin Street, approximately 0.3 miles from Carson's off-campus home.

In the hours before and after that connection, all cellphone activity went through a cellphone tower in Durham, Sutton said.

Prosecutors say Lovette, 21, and another man, Demario Atwater, kidnapped Carson, a senior, took her in her Toyota Highlander to withdraw money from her Bank of America checking account and then shot her five times in a Chapel Hill neighborhood about a mile from UNC.

Michael Smith, a computer forensics analyst for the State Bureau of Investigation, also testified Thursday that the last activity on Carson's computer was at 3:37 a.m. the day she died. She accessed a UNC website, he said.

Other witnesses have testified over the past week that less than 21 minutes later, $700 was withdrawn from Carson's bank account at a Chapel Hill ATM. There were also several failed attempts to withdraw more at the same machine as well as one in Durham.

Images from the Chapel Hill ATM, witnesses testified, show Lovette driving Carson's SUV.

James Trevillian, a forensic video analyst with the SBI, said Thursday that, when he enhanced surveillance video, he found more people in the car.

Laurence Lovette Jr. Prosecution, defense rest in Lovette trial

“I was able to detect there were two people in the back of the vehicle," he said.

Police found Carson's body shortly after a woman called 911 at 5:08 a.m. She said she heard gunshots and then a woman's scream.

Defense attorney Karen Bethea-Shields has admitted that Lovette knew Atwater and that the prosecution can connect him to Carson's SUV, but the defense has denied that Lovette was with Atwater when he shot Carson with a shotgun.

Many of the witnesses for the prosecution have criminal records and motives to lie, Bethea-Shields said, and there's no forensic evidence to connect Lovette to Carson's killing.

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

Lovette will not face the death penalty if convicted because he was a minor at the time of the shooting. If he’s convicted, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.


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  • Made In USA Dec 16, 2011

    The defense had NO defense to offer. Too much evidence against Lovette to prove he didn't participate in Eve Carson's murder. Cameras do not lie. DNA is a fact. The witnesses knew where the pistol parts were found, possible only by being told by who put them there. Lovette's cell phone calls placed him near Eve's home at the time this murder took place.

    Lovette is going to get life in prison without parole. And he DESERVES it.

  • luvmynmls Dec 16, 2011

    "i think he is guilty and should fry. But I also think his attorneys were horrible. I sure hope this does not go to appeal after the conviction and be forced to retry because of his attorneys' incompetence." - chattycat

    I also have a disgusting feeling this is going to go to appeal for incompetent defense. It almost seems as if this is actually the plan. Why would someone waste everyone's time and resources to hold a trial and not put up a denfense?? Something's amiss.

  • wildcat Dec 16, 2011

    I will NOT be convinced by the hot air blowing around here. I can think of no simpler way to say it.

    Just wondering why you are actually here. You are not in control here, but WRAL is. You know what, you can simply leave. How about that? But remember too, no one on board is here to please anyone and not even you. Just giving our personal comments whether its like or not.

  • chattycat Dec 16, 2011

    @fayncmike - based on your name, sounds like you live in a place that has a lot of opportunity for you to "need convincing". Hows that working out for you and your lovely city?

  • chattycat Dec 16, 2011

    i think he is guilty and should fry. But I also think his attorneys were horrible. I sure hope this does not go to appeal after the conviction and be forced to retry because of his attorneys' incompetence.

  • wildcat Dec 16, 2011

    I wonder if any of his "peers' has learned anything from this, other than "don't get caught."

    No they have not learned from this and will continue to committ crimes down to murder. Sad but true.

  • fayncmike Dec 16, 2011

    "@fayncmike: Exactly what you are gonna get. This jury saw the evidence and will convict. Even then, you will still argue! You seem to get a rise out of calling everybody names and if they would post it, I have a good one for you!

    When the verdict is in, whatever it is, that's when I'll be convinced. I will NOT be convinced by the hot air blowing around here. I can think of no simpler way to say it.

  • wildcat Dec 16, 2011

    Well I do hope they will give this very young man life in prison without seeing parole. He was involved in taking a young lady's life....the late Ms. Eve Carson. May justice be served for the family and put this person away for life.

  • ctnorris2011 Dec 16, 2011

    It amazes me how the defense says he didn't do it and the only thing that they can offer is that the witnesses all have criminal histories. Seriously, if you are going to say a person didn't commit a crime of this nature you need a little bit better of a defense. They have no evidence to offer at all. The man's DNA was in Carson's highlander, there are surveillance video of him using her ATM card. Really so he was with Atwater when he robbed her, but not when he shot her...what did he do drop him off around the corner, not likely! In my opinion he is GUILTY!! He should be facing the death penalty, he didn't care that this innocent girl was a senior in college so why should we care that he was a minor. He acted as an adult, made decisions like an adult, he should be punished as an ADULT.

  • Wendellcatlover Dec 16, 2011

    I havent rushed to judge anyone. The defense did not put on a case. Are you seriously especting the prosecutor to give you evidence to weigh that will prove he's innocent? That's not gonna happen.