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UNC murder suspect wants federal case moved out of state

Posted December 15, 2009

— The attorneys for one of two men accused of killing the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's student body president last year want to move the federal trial in the case out of state.

In a motion filed last week in U.S. District Court, Demario James Atwater's attorneys cite "extensive" media coverage that has tainted the jury pool throughout the state as grounds for moving the trial outside North Carolina.

Atwater faces a number of federal charges, including kidnapping and carjacking resulting in death, in the March 5, 2008, shooting death of Eve Marie Carson. His trial is set for May.

"The media latched onto the story and has not let go," the motion, filed Dec. 11, states. "The publicity surrounding this case has been staggering."

The motion cites a statewide survey conducted in June that found 80 percent of respondents have knowledge of the case and that 52 percent already believe Atwater is guilty of killing Carson.

Fifty-two percent said they believe Atwater should be sentenced to death.

Atwater also faces the death penalty on state charges in the case, which include first-degree murder, kidnapping, robbery, felonious larceny and felonious possession of stolen goods. No trial date, however, has been set.

Authorities say Atwater and another man, Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., kidnapped Carson, forced her to withdraw money from ATMs, shot her five times, including once to the head, and left her on a residential street near the UNC campus.

Federal prosecutors allege that Atwater fired the fifth and final shot that killed Carson.

Lovette also faces several charges, including first-degree murder. Under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, however, he is not eligible for the death penalty.

That ruling prohibits the executions of criminals under 18 at the time of a crime. Lovette was 17 when Carson was killed.


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  • wildcat Dec 16, 2009

    served and with parole.

    correction: No parole with life in prison.

  • wildcat Dec 16, 2009

    The Rev. William Barber", president of the state chapter of the NAACP on this one.

    There not anything that he will be able to do. They are in jail now and prison is waiting for them both.

  • wildcat Dec 16, 2009

    Life in prison for both would be better served and with parole. It is not pretty in prison.

  • Tarheelfan13 Dec 16, 2009

    As someone has already pointed out since this is a federal trial it does not matter what state he is tried in as far as the death penalty is concerned. The federal government can sentence a person to death even if the federal trial is located in a state that does not impose the death penalty. Federal trials are tried under federal laws and not state laws. And an earlier person was correct that even if the suspect was convicted and sentenced to death in North Carolina in a federal trial that he would be executed in Indiana since that is the location where federal inmates are executed. Also, the US attorney is the prosecutor in a federal trial and not a state district attorney.

  • wildcat Dec 16, 2009

    No. Absolutely not. They done the crime in that city, and the trial should be held there also. Give the late Ms. Carson that much. They don't deserve to make that choice.

  • mondosinistro Dec 16, 2009

    "Do whatever it takes to give him the death penalty if we have to send him to Mars.

    God forbid. I have a special fondness for the Red Planet, and I don't want to look up at the night sky and have to know that any part of him is up there.

  • djcgriffin Dec 16, 2009

    mpheels - you hit the nail on the head. I'm sure these whiners on GOLO don't realize that if there is a hint of bias on that jury or by that judge, MISTRIAL.

    Let's think with our heads ladies and gentlemen. Although you may not agree with it, this is the system we have to work with.

  • Oxfordgirl Dec 16, 2009

    DEATH PENALTY is what he needs... and I agree if they move I think Texas is a very good option. They will uphold what a lot of us would like to see as a outcome

  • mountainlover Dec 16, 2009

    First, due to the national coverage of this case, a change of venue may not help this thug too much. Due to the internet and cable TV, changes of venue do not provide the safe havens that they once did. Second, if one is granted I have three suggestions--Texas, Virginia (their citizens have deal with John Mohammed and Virginia Tech; they will be ready) and Georgia (Eve's home state).

  • 2beachy4u Dec 16, 2009

    waltbuchanan....are you saying he is innocent until proven guilty? Hello....he and another young man brutally murdered a young lady that had so much going for her. He is guilty...didn't you see him and his friend on camera at the ATM driving Eve's car and using her debit card? That proves enough for me. He has proven himself to be a felon and needs the death penalty. His partner in crime should get life plus 100 years since he was underage. As far as that goes, if you commit a crime of this nature,you should be tried as an adult. Grrrr.....