Local News

Eve Carson's legacy lives on

Posted March 4, 2009
Updated March 4, 2010

— Eve Carson, the slain University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student body president, was a Tar Heel through and through.

She loved Carolina basketball, going to Franklin Street and playing intramural sports. Friends say James Taylor's "Carolina in My Mind" was one of her favorite songs.

Eve Carson portrait UNC turns grief into action

As a student leader and prestigious Morehead-Cain scholar, she personified what retired UNC Chancellor James Moeser last year called "the Carolina spirit." She was "compassionate, inclusive in her dealings with everyone … fairness, justice and tolerance."

The biology and political science major found time to tutor and teach science at a local elementary school. On summer breaks, she studied in Havana and volunteered in Ecuador, Egypt and Ghana.

Carson's enthusiasm for community service was contagious, friends say, and so was her ability to get people involved. Friends say that she was ready to conquer the world.

"Just whatever she was going to do, she was going to be great just being herself," said UNC junior Katherine Novinski, a Morehead-Cain scholar whom Carson mentored.

Instead, the world has come to know her in a much different way.

The 22-year-old native of Athens, Ga., was kidnapped at her campus rental house in the early morning of March 5, 2008, robbed, shot and killed in a neighborhood near the UNC campus.

Two men – Demario James Atwater and Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr. – face state and federal charges in connection with her death, which Chapel Hill police have called a random act of violence. (View a timeline of events related to the case.)

The crime sent shockwaves through the university community, which hadn't experienced a tragedy of such magnitude since 1995, when a law school student went on a shooting rampage and killed two people.

Within hours of hearing of Carson's death, thousands gathered on campus for a memorial service and a candlelight vigil.

"Something happened that day at UNC," said junior Hogan Medlin, also a Morehead-Cain scholar whom Carson mentored. "It was a literal coming together of the student body."

One year later, UNC is turning its grief into action, having already started a scholarship in Carson's honor – the first recipient was named last month – as well as a variety of other projects.

At a remembrance on Thursday, Chancellor Holden Thorpe will ask students, faculty and staff to give back to the community during the month of March.

"What matters most is who did you inspire? Where did you make your mark in this world?" Medlin said. "Eve made her mark, and it's evident in every person you can talk to."

Lisa and Emily Martin are living Carson's legacy of service. The women and about 80 other students will spend spring break in New Orleans. They plan to rebuild communities still recovering from Hurricane Katrina.

“Eve Carson made a big difference on this campus. You can tell by the people who were affected by her death. So, I think it's really cool how we have the opportunity to make a difference in society as well as she did,” said Emily Martin, UNC student.

“I think it speaks about her life and what she meant to do,” said Lisa Martin, UNC student.

Carson's family has grieved privately, but her younger brother has taken on a very public cause that started before she died.

Andrew Carson helped produce an award-winning documentary called "Darius Goes West," which has sold nearly 22,000 copies and raised more than $1.5 million for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research. The goal is to sell 1 million DVDs in one year.

The film follows the quest of 15-year-old muscular dystrophy patient Darius Weems, who sets off on a cross-country quest to get MTV's "Pimp My Ride" to customize his wheelchair. Along the way, Weems touches the lives of those he meets and shares his story.

Friends say Eve Carson encouraged the project.

"She would take the time to ask you the questions that others wouldn't ask," Medlin said. "She would meet you and immediately ask you what your passions are."

Thursday's remembrance begins in The Pit on the UNC campus at 4 p.m. with music starting at 3:45 p.m. It is expected to last about 30 minutes and feature remarks by Thorp and a performance by student a cappella group, The Clef Hangers.

"For many of us, the loss of Eve Carson continues to occupy our thoughts," Thorp said. "This ceremony gives us a chance to remember and celebrate Eve together after a difficult year."

Also on Thursday evening, friends will gather at Carson's alma mater, Clarke Central High School in Athens, for a moment of silence.


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  • sssh.. whisper Mar 5, 2009


    "Also, from a different angle, it still costs more to execute someone than to put them in prison for life."

    Regardless, I'd rather know my money went somewhere better than what I have already explained (his luxury)... I dont know about you, but I work hard to pay my bills!

  • Theseus Mar 5, 2009

    "an eye for an eye"
    Some of the comments about an eye for eye are really so uniformed as to be comical. An eye for an eye as used in the Bible was an injunction to limit punishment for a crime. In cultures around that time a criminal was likely to suffer punishment way out of proportion to his deed, usually at the hands of the victim's relatives. An eye for an eye is another or Biblical way of stating that the punishment should be proportional to or fit the severity of the crime. If you commit murder then you should not be surprised if the state demands your life as punishment. But that was before liberals with their "social justice" appeared on the scene.

  • BigUNCFan Mar 5, 2009

    It is this belief system that continues to make the "eye for an eye" philosophy prevail. If you don't want to be "better" than the murderers then feel free to move to Iran where you can have your "eye for an eye."

    I find it funny that when liberals don't agree with a viewpoint other than their own, they become remarkably closed minded and tell you to go to Iran or some other witticism. Give me an intelligent argument with reason to state why I am wrong and I will listen to it. Give me something like "an eye for an eye will lead to an endless spiral of violence" or "kindness to others may cause them to rethink their approach and change" or "being positive and making changes to the world for the better versus desctuction in the name of vengance is the better approach".

    I may disagree with you but will respect you. Your argument to go to Iran is just plain silly and shows you have put little thought into the post.

  • boingc Mar 5, 2009

    "I really don't care about some vague notion of being "better" than the murderers, etc. I'll have to admit an eye for an eye is the way this world works and those who do not understand that are generally going to get the worse half of most deals in life."

    It is this belief system that continues to make the "eye for an eye" philosophy prevail. If you don't want to be "better" than the murderers then feel free to move to Iran where you can have your "eye for an eye."

  • Theseus Mar 5, 2009

    "Yet another reason that people should demand hate crime legislation be inclusive for all people, not just minorities! If this wasn't a hate crime then what is?"
    I agree!!! If you think WRAL coverage of this story was excessive just think what it would have been had Eve been black and her murderers been white. There would have been no end to the coverage and the indignation all the usual suspects would have voiced about racism ad nauseum.
    The truth is (according to Dept of Justice and FBI crime stats) whites are far more likely to be victimized by blacks than the reverse. This was not just for economic crimes such as robbery but also for crimes not involving money such as rape.

  • boingc Mar 5, 2009


    You make a very good point. However, the punishment for Mahato's murder would result from a separate charge/trial for his murder. My comments regarding Eve Carson's stance on the death penalty derive from the content of this article (remembering Eve Carson/Eve Carson's legacy) and the content of the posts about it. Many of the earlier posts expressed a fondness for Carson and a desire for her not to be forgotten, while at the same time calling for the execution of at least one of her murderers. I felt that it was necessary to point out her stance on capital punishment, and the fact that executing someone in her name would tarnish her aforementioned legacy. Should a death sentence be handed down in the killing of Mahato then that would not have an impact on Carson's legacy.

  • BigUNCFan Mar 5, 2009

    I really don't care about some vague notion of being "better" than the murderers, etc. I'll have to admit an eye for an eye is the way this world works and those who do not understand that are generally going to get the worse half of most deals in life. I really wish that were not the case but it just unfortunately is. I guess it is a derivative of the "survival of the fittest" law of nature.

    You have to be tough and hard to live in this world. That is just an unfortunate reality. Turn the other cheek is just not going to cut it in today's society. It is just the way it is in economics, crime, etc. Only those who stand up and face evil with something that makes evil people pay attention will get results. The evil people of this world will not understand sympathy, caring or reason and will only take advantage of situations.

  • jsanders Mar 5, 2009

    "What part of 'Eve Carson was against the death penalty' do you not get?"

    Even if we took that approach in jurisprudence, does anyone know what Abhijit Mahato's position on the death penalty was?

  • boingc Mar 5, 2009

    "Perhaps she would have changed her mind following this brutal attack, but I guess we will never know now, will we?"

    I doubt it. Considering what a caring, compassionate person she was I'd imagine she'd stand by her convictions -- very much a "turn the other cheek" instead of an "eye for an eye."

  • Theseus Mar 5, 2009

    This was not some petty purse snatching by some juvenile delinquents. Seeking or not seeking the death penalty for her murderers should not be reduced to how the victim felt about capital punishment. If I am not mistaken, Carson's murder is not the only murder committed by these two. The state has a duty, first and foremost, to protect its citizens and dispense justice and not indulge in some vague subjective notion of social justice.