State News

UNC murder suspect arraigned on federal charge

Posted February 25, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— One of two suspects accused in the death of University of North Carolina student body president Eve Carson pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a federal kidnapping charge that was added to the case last month.

Demario James Atwater Jr. already faces 10 other state and federal charges in connection with Carson's March 5 shooting death, including federal charges of carjacking resulting in death and carrying and using firearms during and in relation to carjacking.

Demario Atwater Atwater due in court on new charge in Carson case

A superseding indictment last month from a federal grand jury added the kidnapping charge. Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty.

A trial date on the state charges has not been set, and because Atwater is in federal custody, it is likely that the federal case will be tried first.

U.S. District Judge James A. Beaty Jr. also denied a request Wednesday from Atwater's attorney to move his client's trial to January 2010. The case is scheduled to go to trial sometime in November.

Atwater and Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., 18, face state charges that consist 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.

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.

The state has said it will also seek the death penalty for Atwater.

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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  • zpjsmom Feb 26, 2009

    I work within walking distance of where this young woman lived and the murder site where her body was dumped on the street. I think often about what happened that night and I am still incredulous. How good these physically healthy, attractive young men w/their whole lives in front of them effectively end 3 lives that night? Why, why, why? I will never get over it.

  • any1butcarolina0405 Feb 25, 2009

    i like how the 11 year old PA boy is going to be tried as an adult, or at least for now, and yet this 17 year old (at the time of the crime) can't get the death penalty, oooooook. why?

  • rgarrison1 Feb 25, 2009

    When this case comes up, I'm always amazed at how many people say nothing but to scream for the death penalty. Not because I'm in favor or not, but because there's so much here that is far more interesting. I have literally dozens of questions about this murder. But for now, let me just throw out one? What kind of defense could they possibly be planning? Could Atwater have pleaded guilty? If so, what would happen then? If you plead guilty, do you still get a trial at all? How would everyone react if there was no trial? (All right, that's 5 questions, but closely related ones.) Anyone with answers?

  • TarheelTurtle Feb 25, 2009

    This article relates to the FEDERAL charges against Atwater, therefore he will be tried in Federal Court, in Greensboro. This shining example of scum will be tried on the state murder charges in Orange County, following the federal trial. Please don't lump everyone at Carolina or Chapel Hill as liberal, because that would be an incorrect assumption. Most people I know can't wait to see this guy suffer, although it won't be nearly as horrific as what he and his friend made Eve go through.
    I have to wonder though, where are the right Rev's Barber, Jackson, Sharpton on this one? Too busy defending James Johnson, or Crystal Mangum? I just hope they are smart enough to stay away this time...

  • pleshy Feb 25, 2009

    You people are crazy... I do not necessarily disagree with the death penalty, but I have no problem with giving a defendant every single opportunity to prove the government did everything it was supposed to do and the government did everything it is supposed to do pursuant to the rights and guarantees granted in the Constitution, before allowing the government to kill a person. Remember, the death penalty means the government is killing people as an agent of the people - the government is killing for and on our behalf. When I give the government the power to kill people, knowing that as a citizen I am subject to that same authority, I want to makes sure the defendnat least deserving of the rights and protections of the law has those rights, so that I will have them too. Remember, this is the same government that cannot balance the federal checkbook or hire people that don't cheat on their taxes. And yet we want them to have the power to kill citizens FASTER? No thank you.

  • carolinarox Feb 25, 2009

    Sherrif Arpaio's escapades have cost the taxpayers of Maricopa County, AZ over $40 million dollars in settlements.

  • racinjunki Feb 25, 2009

    ncrebel----LOL, actually I have a firm hold....and HANGING someone doesn't put the fear of God in puts the fear of man in people

    And your point is? As long as it deters the next teenager from pulling a trigger thinking nothing will be done to them, so be it. Any one that would murder another human will never have the fear of God in them.

  • Beach4Me Feb 25, 2009

    Hey Tootie......How about Exodus 21:12 "He that smites a man so that he may die, shall be surely put to death."

  • dragline Feb 25, 2009

    there are alot of things that the public does not know about that happens "on the inside"-- esp. regarding these two people ----they will get "special" attention.

  • tootie Feb 25, 2009

    I think its a disgrace how a person can have no regard for a persons life. If we are better than the animals because we have rules doesn't that make us just like them when we don't follow the rules?!?!