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Federal judge sets Atwater trial for May 2010

Posted June 15, 2009

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— One of the suspects in the March 2008 kidnapping and shooting death of a UNC student leader, will stand trial on federal charges beginning May 3, a judge ruled Monday.

During a pre-trial hearing, defense attorneys said they would not have enough time to prepare for Demario James Atwater's trial, which had been set to begin Nov. 2.

Atwater, 23, faces 11 state and federal charges in connection with the March 5, 2008, shooting death of Eve Marie Carson, including federal charges of kidnapping, carjacking resulting in death and carrying and using firearms during and in relation to carjacking.

Federal prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty against Atwater, whom they allege fired the fifth and final shot that killed Carson, who at the time was the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's student body president.

In a motion filed last month, his attorneys said the state crime lab was still analyzing a shoe print, an ATM receipt and other evidence found in Carson's SUV. They also wanted more time to research Atwater's upbringing and background.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys, as well as Atwater's family, declined to comment Monday.

Carson, 22, was shot five times, including once in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun, and left on a street near the UNC campus. Police found her body after residents reported hearing gunshots.

Atwater and another man, Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., 18, face state charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping, robbery, felonious larceny and felonious possession of stolen goods.

Atwater also faces charges of possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of a weapon of mass destruction for the size of the shotgun investigators believe was used in the crime.

The state has said it will also seek the death penalty for Atwater. A trial date, however, has not been set.

Under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that prohibits the executions of criminals under 18 at the time of a crime, Lovette will not face the death penalty because he was 17 when Carson was killed.


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  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jun 15, 2009

    In cases like this "The Old West" and it's Hangin Judges had it right.

  • Professor Jun 15, 2009

    This was not a hate crime even some of you desire that to be so. Its enough that the young lady was murdered but to continue to add nothings to the story is so sad on your part. Allow Ms. Carson to rest in peace. Thanks.

  • Professor Jun 15, 2009

    think you would find more than a couple volunteers who would carry out his sentence gladly, and much sooner than 2010.

    Right - go ahead and you will be sitting with these two young guys in prison for your life time and no parole. Do you really want that. Chat sensible or not at all.

  • Professor Jun 15, 2009

    I believe its becoming stupid on the courts side to continue to put off these trials of these young men that took the late Ms. Carson's life. They should have long ago had their trials and now should be spending their time in a prison.

  • vote4changeASAP Jun 15, 2009

    Surething, that is why I am enraged.

  • Surething Jun 15, 2009

    vote for change, ONLY a hate crime when the victim is black. You should know that by now.

  • jprime Jun 15, 2009

    I think you would find more than a couple volunteers who would carry out his sentence gladly, and much sooner than 2010.

  • Iworkforaliving Jun 15, 2009

    "upbringing and background."???
    I don't care if he spent his entire life from birth in a prison, there is no excuse for randomly killing someone. Yes I said randomly.

  • vote4changeASAP Jun 15, 2009

    The DA needs to add "Hate Crime" to the list of charges.

    Blowing someone's face off with a sawed-off shot gun is personal.

  • Huey Jun 15, 2009

    Justice delayed is justice denied. Have a trial asap, hang him, and get on with the system. Anything else in this case is a pure waste and a travesty. Is it any wonder our "criminal justice system" gets so little respect nowadays? With today's clowns for judges and lawyers, society is lucky to get any real justice at all.