Local News

Eve Carson opposed death penalty, parents say

Posted October 28, 2008

— Eve Carson's parents say their daughter did not support the death penalty – and neither do they.

But Orange County prosecutor Jim Woodall says that despite their beliefs, they support his decision to seek the death penalty against one of the two suspects charged in her death.

"I am aware of their position, and I respect it immensely," Woodall said. "They've also said they support me and what I feel I need to do to prosecute this case."

The district attorney announced in August that he plans to seek the death penalty against Demario James Atwater, 22, who is charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping in connection with Carson's death.

Police found the 22-year-old University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill senior dead in the middle of a residential street near the UNC campus while responding to gunshots in the early-morning hours of March 5.

Investigators believe Atwater and another man, Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr, 17, kidnapped Carson and forced her to withdraw $1,400 from ATMs before shooting her five times, including once in the head.

Atwater also faces federal carjacking charges, which could also allow federal authorities to seek a death sentence.

Lovette can't be executed if he is convicted in Carson's death. A 2005 U.S. Supreme Court ruling prohibits anyone who was under the age of 18 at the time of a crime to be executed.

No one has been sentenced to death in Orange County since North Carolina reinstated the death penalty in 1977. The last person executed for a crime there was in 1948.

78 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • mondosinistro Oct 30, 4:16 p.m.

    What you say about incarcerated murderers being a threat is IMO overrated. You have any examples? How often do escapes occur in general? I say the real problem is people who murder after a long list of other offenses. And I never said punishment, or in particular capital punishment, has no deterrent effect at all. There may well be some; but when these stories come up there are always hordes of people who go on about how the death penalty will somehow scare people into not murdering. I think that's a fantasy. At most, it will have a marginal effect.

  • wayneuber Oct 29, 9:26 p.m.

    Mondosinistro and marshalp,

    You haven’t acknowledged the dangers that murderer represent despite being convicted or incarcerated but not executed. Un-executed premeditated murderers still cause harm to other offenders and themselves. Unexecuted premeditated murderers escape, threaten the families of their victims and inflict additional costs.

    If your claim is that executions do not deter you’d be wrong (not even one?). Even your most specious studies merely don’t find proof of deterrence (or ignore it?)… they don’t prove that executions don’t deter… and there are plenty of studies that prove a deterrent effect

  • mondosinistro Oct 29, 10:51 a.m.

    Well said, Marshalp. For the most part those who look to the DP to deter crime are kidding themselves. Even punishment in general doesn't seem to cut through to the criminal mind. We can lock up those who commit crimes, and then at least they won't be ought menacing innocent people. We can bust up gangs and criminal conspiracies. Sometimes we can even stop crimes in progress. Those things work, not a threat of some extreme measure that rarely gets applied, and takes a long time to happen (and it really has to be that way--let's be a little realistic here).

    Yes, there's already a shockingly large portion of the population behind bars, and things need to be done to keep at-risk potential criminals from going down the wrong road. But until there are more successes in that, for the time being jail time seems the next best thing.

  • Atnor Oct 29, 9:50 a.m.

    I find it so odd that the right is the side generally in favor of capital punishment. I guess its the social conservative side of the party. I dont trust the government, or even my fellow man, enough to give them the power of life and death if I were accused of a crime. Especially now that I see time and time again people exonerated from death row by DNA testing. I think life in prison should be made a bit more limiting and painful for those accused of crimes like these, and that is punishment enough for me.

  • wayneuber Oct 29, 9:46 a.m.

    The jury will have a chance to include the Carson family's wishes in their decision process. It should be up to a jury to decide if Eve’s memory and interests of public safety are best served with an execution.

    Lawful executions are not murder. Those that can’t distinguish the difference between the two are being intellectually deceitful.

  • wayneuber Oct 29, 9:46 a.m.

    IMHO it’s simpleminded or disingenuous (or some combination of both) to assume that revenge motivates persons to demand that Eve’s killers be executed. Eve was “food” to these two murderers. To think that we can lock them up and that they will not ever cause harm to anyone else (even themselves) is naïve not to mention dangerous. They have already demonstrated their capacity for violence and disregard for the law. Just because one of them is ineligible for the death penalty because of his age doesn’t mean that they both don’t deserve execution or that we shouldn’t execute those that we can in the interests of public safety.

    Sentencing is a matter that should be decided by the jury based on evidence, testimony, logic and facts. During the sentencing phase members of the Carson family will have their chance to say what they want to on Eve’s behalf.

  • mondosinistro Oct 29, 7:15 a.m.

    rduyall--you misunderstand--maybe I wasn't clear enough: I do NOT believe Eve was out on the street. In fact, I spoke against that view repeatedly since last spring, when I started thinking that probably L&A were specifically looking for her. What I meant was that, IF she was chosen "randomly," the ONLY way it's plausible that this JUST HAPPENED to be the UNC SBP if if Eve managed to make herself a target just by being up at that hour, with the blinds up, as the DA himself suggested. But I still have doubts, for the reasons I just gave. I do NOT want to be blaming the victim here--normally that's a pretty safe area, and being up at that hour would not normally put you in great danger--that is, unless someone was watching you.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Oct 28, 9:52 p.m.

    "No matter what anyone thinks of the death penalty, I would ask that people at least honor the sincerity of this young woman's beliefs."

    We honor Eve Carson. But her, or her parents, beliefs on the Death Penalty, have no bearing on this case. As I posted earlier, she and her parents lived, and still live, in Georgia. Is it our business, as residents of the Triangle, to tell Georgia whether they should execute someone who lives there and committed murder? Of course its not! And they wouldn't care what we thought. They are the ones who would have to deal with the Georgia murderer if he escaped prison and returned home to kill again. We are the ones that would have to deal with Eve's murder if he ever escaped and returned to the Triangle to kill again. Its OUR decision, and our decison ONLY! Regardless of what Eve's family believes.

  • azure28 Oct 28, 9:34 p.m.

    It isn't any surprise about Ms. Carson's position. She aligned herself with the leftist groups on campus and adopted their point of view, which includes opposition to the death penalty. Her views were probably based on the unchallenged mantras uttered by abolitionists, e.g. the death penalty is racially discriminatory, executes the innocent, not supported in the Bible, all of which are not true. During "death penalty awareness week" at UNC, NOT ONE pro death penalty proponent was included among the speakers.

    Eve's parents, according to the Federal Election Commission filings, have given exclusively to liberal causes.

    This does not mean that their daughter's death was any less a crime. It was capital murder. It was committed by two men who were also involved in a similar savage premeditated murder against Mahato at Duke. It does not matter what the Carson's feel about the death penalty, it is the will of the people and Atwater deserves to be executed if convicted.

  • familyfour Oct 28, 8:58 p.m.

    I support the death penalty.

    Maybe if it was enforced more often, crime would eventually lessen because the hope of life after crime would be less. Punishment does not fit the crime these days.

More...