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Eve Carson murder suspect indicted on federal charges

Posted October 27, 2008
Updated May 25, 2010

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— A federal grand jury has indicted one of two suspects in the slaying of UNC-Chapel Hill's former student body president.

Demario James Atwater, 22, was indicted Monday on a charge of carjacking resulting in death, which could allow federal authorities to seek a death sentence.

Chapel Hill police have charged Atwater, and Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., 17, with first-degree murder and kidnapping in connection with the March 5 shooting death of Eve Marie Carson, 22, of Athens, Ga.

Police investigators believe Atwater and Lovette kidnapped Carson and forced her to withdraw $1,400 from ATMs before shooting her five times, including once in the head with a sawed-off shotgun.

Federal authorities began looking at the case in April to determine whether to file federal carjacking charges, which can carry the death sentence if prosecutors can prove the crime was committed during a homicide.

U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey must approve seeking a death sentence in the federal case. Prosecutors said Monday he has yet to do so.

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall has said he will seek the death penalty against Atwater, but juries there have rarely sentenced defendants to death row.

Lovette is ineligible for the death penalty under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling because he is under age 18 at the time of the crime of which he is accused.

Death penalty cases are rare in federal cases, according to former federal prosecutor Dan Boyce.

Since 1977, there have been three cases where federal prisoners have been executed, including Timothy McVeigh for his role in the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.


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  • mac240 Oct 28, 2008

    Why are people so afraid of electing a black man as president. If he were white it would be a no brainer!

  • vote4changeASAP Oct 28, 2008

    Try and convict then execute ASAP

  • lakewoodmail Oct 28, 2008

    OBAMAnation ...

  • tgw Oct 28, 2008

    Hay guys-get real-hate crimes only happen when whites kill blacks-not the other way around. That's Democratic logic. Real logic says that hate crime legislation was about getting your vote-and maybe adding a thing or 2 to a list of crimes.

    If we elected a real Congress and Senate that was not running for re-election or President all the time and had the country's best interest at heart instead of their best interest, some more of our legislation would make sense. However, we have allowed this political stuff start dictating everything we and politicians do. What a shame!!!!!!!!

  • ContinuityMan Oct 28, 2008

    "if the 17 yo at the time of the crime was able to commit it, then he should be eligible for the consequences" - scubagirl

    Spot-on, sg! Wait until the little darling turns 21, then send him on his way. I think it was the philosopher Baretta who once said, "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time."

  • Z Man Oct 28, 2008

    The problem this allieviates is our liberal friends in Chapel Hill have not had an execution in 60 years. A Chapel Hill jury may convict these two (though they may instead blame their troubled childhood (remember Wendell Williamson?)) but they will never go for the death penalty.

  • iwanttobeillegalalien Oct 27, 2008

    If the two perps would have waited awhile before breaking the law for money, the could have got it free, Obama is going to share the wealth.

  • Made In USA Oct 27, 2008

    These two criminals had no respect for life, nor did they care UNTIL they got caught. If they had not been caught, the likeihood of another murder happening would have been very high. I don't wish bad things on anyone, BUT in this situation... I Do wish that the courts will stand tough. And the death penalty for the one that's elgible is proper to prevent his release down the road. Justice must be served if our society is to impose any level of deterent to people who have no value for another human being's life. If they get off easy, then you can bet that "their kind" will not think twice about doing the very same thing. And with an economy like it is, the odds are great that a repeat of these kind of crimes will happen. I vote in favor of the death penalty.

    My heart continues to go out to the carson family, along with all the many friends that Eve left behind. You are all in my Prayers.

  • carolina blue sky Oct 27, 2008

    I have to disagree with life in prison being a worse punishment.... he gets visits with family and friends, three squares a day, free phone calls all day long as often as he chooses (they have to call collect), clothes, bed,shower, TV, radio, play sports, card games, birthday parties, pizza parties, Christmas parties, $5.00 for a medical emergency, $3.00 for a regular sick call co pay.... some of them live better in prison than they did on the street.....

  • news4u Oct 27, 2008

    How can you murder anyone without hate?