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UNC murder suspect wants police videos

Posted February 2, 2010
Updated May 25, 2010

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— Defense attorneys for a man facing federal charges in the death of the UNC's former student body president want copies of Durham police patrol car video and surveillance video from the booking room where he was kept.

They believe the videos might show their client, Demario James Atwater, was subjected to physical and mental threats and abuse, according to a motion filed Monday.

Attorneys have also filed a motion to suppress any statements that were not electronically recorded.

Eve Marie Carson was shot five times and left in a neighborhood several blocks from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus on March 5, 2008.

Atwater faces federal kidnapping and carjacking charges, which mean the death penalty if he is convicted.

Atwater’s attorneys have requested an evidentiary hearing before a judge on whether to move the case out of state. They say Atwater would be unable to get a fair trial because of the media attention surrounding Carson’s death.

His trial is scheduled for May, but attorney Kimberly Stevens argued last week that the "staggering" amount of coverage of the case could keep her client from receiving a fair trial.

U.S. District Judge James A. Beaty Jr. has not ruled on the matter and did not say when he would do so.

Screening of potential jurors will begin Feb. 22 with them filling out a questionnaire at the federal courthouse in Winston-Salem.

In court documents dated Sunday, defense attorneys asked to have the race of every potential juror noted.

In addition to federal charges, Atwater faces the death penalty on state charges that include first-degree murder, kidnapping, robbery, felonious larceny and felonious possession of stolen goods.

A trial date, however, has not been set, for those charges.

Authorities say Atwater and another man, Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., kidnapped Carson and forced her to withdraw money from ATMs before shooting her. Federal prosecutors allege that Atwater fired the fifth and final shot that killed Carson.

Lovette, who was 17 when Carson was killed, also faces several charges, including first-degree murder. He, however, is not eligible for the death penalty under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that prohibits the executions of criminals under 18 at the time of the crime.

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  • grenlyn1 Feb 3, 2010

    Let's change his venue to TEXAS!!!!

  • Tax Man Feb 3, 2010

    Common Sense Man,

    You can get the defense attorney profile, contact and picture at: http://andersonpangia.net/kstevens.html

  • smarterthanyou2 Feb 3, 2010

    http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/executed-possibly-innocent

    It happens.

  • gov watchdog Feb 3, 2010

    "You people do know that convicted folks have been executed"
    Proof??

  • smarterthanyou2 Feb 3, 2010

    "Who cares??? He shot a girl 5 times in the head!!! I hope he is subjected to a "chair"!!! And the sooner, the better!!!"

    Allegedly. I don't remember all the details of this case, but there weren't any eye witnesses, right?

    You people do know that convicted folks have been executed or nearly exectued who were later proved innocent, right?

    This case most likely seems cut and dried, but that doesn't give cops the right to be their own judge and jury.

  • tatermommy52 Feb 3, 2010

    We need conservative judges rule on these issues.

  • FragmentFour Feb 3, 2010

    For those who think Lovette really deserves to face capital punishment whether he was under 18 at the time of both students murders, his life expectancy isn't that great within the prison population. Loud mouth kids - which he is - just don't seem to last long.

  • fisunt Feb 3, 2010

    Personally I don't care if Lovette is under 18, and eye for an eye. His age did not deter him from participating in the murder of an innocent young lady. And yes, I read the article correctly and Franklin because it was her school. I would be just as satisfied if they were publicly executed on the Wake County Courthouse steps. Bring back public executions and you will cut down on the amount of crime everywhere. Quit sending them to daycare prisons.

  • seankelly15 Feb 3, 2010

    didisaythat - "Do not let defense attorneys dictate how a trial goes...let the constitution and rules of law. It is a shame how much has changed in the legal system m=, not by rules of law or the constitution but how lawyers have let PC and emotions change." You know nothing about the Constitution. And, the legal system has not changed; your ideas are simply out of touch with our system of justice.

  • seankelly15 Feb 3, 2010

    fisunt - "A public hanging on Franklin street is in order, today, not 10 years from now for both men. I don't care if you poll the race of the spectators or not. No need to waste time on a trial on this one." I guess you missed the part that stated that Lovette was under 18 at the time and thus exempt from the death penalty. And, it is the potential JURY POOL that the defense attorneys want race polled - not the specatators race. Finally, why Franklin Street? Because it was a UNC student? What does her school affiliation have to do with a murder trial?

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