Local News

Feds to seek death penalty against Carson murder suspect

Posted January 16, 2009

— Federal prosecutors announced Friday they will seek the death penalty against one of the men accused of killing former University of North Carolina student leader Eve Carson.

Demario James Atwater, 22, faces federal charges of carjacking and firearms resulting in death in connection with Carson's March 5 slaying.

A federal trial date is slated for November.

Anna Mills Wagoner, U.S. attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina, made the announcement in a news release. She declined to comment further.

Investigators believe Atwater and another man, Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr, 18, kidnapped Carson and forced her to withdraw $1,400 from ATMs before shooting her five times, including once in the head, near UNC's campus.

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall has said he is also seeking the death penalty for Atwater on state charges related to the crime, which include first-degree murder, robbery and kidnapping.

It's still unclear whether Lovette will face any federal charges. He is ineligible for the death penalty under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling because he was under age 18 at the time of the crime of which he is accused.

Dan Boyce, a former federal prosecutor, says the death penalty is rare in federal cases but not unprecedented.

Since 1977, there have been three cases in which 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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  • DontAnnoyMe Jan 16, 2009

    I don't understand how some of you can write here when you don't read first. Both of these are right in the article:

    1. Anyone under 18 years of age is not eligible for the death penalty.

    2. The Orange County DA will also pursue the death penalty.

  • imacoppiceman Jan 16, 2009

    You would think that the banking system could come up with a simple system, i.e. putting your pin number in reverse and accessing your account while alerting the police that your under duress. The crooks would be no wiser, and maybe just maybe it could save your life. What is a fairly simplistic software adaptation worth? At least one human life I'll bet....

  • Made In USA Jan 16, 2009

    On behalf of the Carson Family, I wish this case would come to a swift ending.

  • See Chart Jan 16, 2009

    I would love to squeeze the fluid of death
    into this arm ,lawfully speaking of course.

  • geosol Jan 16, 2009

    Bye, bye murderer!!!!

  • anne53ozzy Jan 16, 2009

    I do not have an ATM card. I would not have my child have one either given what is happening now. With a little forethought, you can have the money you need without going to a machine to get it. I am not saying that we have to abandon this convenience forever but certainly until something is put in place that will deter these acts.

  • anne53ozzy Jan 16, 2009

    I wish there could be an alarm code added to our ATM codes that would register immediately if the ID was entered under duress. Perhaps a slight change in the # that would alert police immediately. We can track cell#'s...Could it be possible to do so w cards?
    The technology has to catch up to the criminals.

  • ctechic2004 Jan 16, 2009

    Still don't understand how this became a federal case. Why isn't all carjacking cases federal cases?

  • ladyinblue72 Jan 16, 2009

    Here's to swift justice..

  • John Q Public Jan 16, 2009

    I wonder if the same penalty will be handed out for Abhijit Mahato murder.