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Re-sentencing for Eve Carson's killer delayed until June

Posted April 26, 2013

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— The re-sentencing for one of two men convicted in the death of former University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student body president Eve Carson has been delayed until June 3.

Laurence Lovette Jr. was initially sentenced Dec. 20, 2011, to life in prison without the possibility of parole after being convicted of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree armed robbery in Carson's shooting death five years ago.

WRAL.com archive: Eve Carson murder case

But the North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled in February that he must be re-sentenced because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling about automatic life sentences of offenders under age 18 at the time.

Lovette, 22, was 17 at the time of Carson’s death. The popular senior from Athens, Ga., was found dead in a neighborhood near the UNC campus on the morning of March 5, 2008.

The Supreme Court ruled that judges must consider mitigating circumstances before sentencing someone under the age of 18 to life without the possibility of parole.

The re-sentencing hearing was scheduled for Friday morning in Hillsborough, but defense attorney Karen Bethea-Shields said Durham psychologist James Hilkey wasn't available to testify because he was in Fayetteville for a competency hearing in the capital murder case of Mario Andrette McNeill.

Hilkey has examined Lovette, and Bethea-Shields said he would present evidence to try to persuade Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour to hand down a lighter sentence.

She said the judge needs to consider Lovette's youth at the time of the crime and all of the things that go along with being a teenager, such as impulsive and reckless behavior.

Eve Carson Carson's family could testify at killer's sentencing

Laurence Lovette resentencing Court hearing for Eve Carson's killer

Bethea-Shields also filed a motion Friday suggesting that Lovette should be sentenced as if he were convicted of second-degree murder.

In response to the Supreme Court ruling, North Carolina lawmakers passed a law that says the sentence should be life in prison with parole if someone under the age of 18 is convicted of first-degree murder solely on the basis of what's known as the felony murder rule. In all other cases, the court must hold a hearing to consider mitigating circumstances, such as the defendant's age, immaturity and ability to benefit from rehabilitation.

Lovette was convicted of first-degree murder not only on the basis of the felony rule but also on the basis of malice, premeditation and deliberation.

The motion notes that the new law was enacted after Lovette's conviction, so no mitigating evidence was introduced at trial to seek a lighter sentence. Applying the law to his case deprives him of due process, according to the motion.

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said he expects the first-degree murder conviction to stand and said he plans to fight against parole for Lovette.

"In my mind, there is only one sentence, and that's life without parole," Woodall said. "Every time I think about Eve, my heart goes out to her, all her friends, the whole community. It's just tremendously tragic."

At the re-sentencing, Baddour will have to consider mitigating factors, but Woodall also could present testimony from Carson's family to persuade the judge to again hand down a sentence of life in prison without parole.

Carson's younger brother, Andrew, attended Friday's court hearing and said it is difficult to see Lovette.

Bethea-Shields said the case also is difficult for her client.

"It's very stressful. It's very stressful right now for him," she said.

35 Comments

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  • Crumps Br0ther Apr 29, 2013

    The man in question was a juvenile when the murder occurred. Eve is gone and this man's life is ruined forever because of his foolish actions as a teenager. A very long prison sentence is no doubt in his future, but the death penalty is barbaric and very 3rd world.
    welfarequeen

    But the push for your coveted liberal agenda has us sliding into 3rd worldlike scenarios. For an example just look at Detroit, it only took democrats 50 years to kill what was once called The Paris of the West. Dont get too dizzy trying to spin that one.

  • atheistswillrule Apr 26, 2013

    Eve Carson's parents BOTH spoke at trial saying that they were against the death penalty and so was Eve. I do think that their opinions are valid and should be taken into consideration by the court. THAT is why they have "victim impact statements". People said for so long that the victim's who's lives were most effected by the crime were not being given their say and the courts agreed. Sometimes, as in the Carson family, they lean towards mercy. Get over it.

  • welfarequeen Apr 26, 2013

    Lovette doesn't deserve to live one day longer. timexliving

    The man in question was a juvenile when the murder occurred. Eve is gone and this man's life is ruined forever because of his foolish actions as a teenager. A very long prison sentence is no doubt in his future, but the death penalty is barbaric and very 3rd world.

  • Ex-Republican Apr 26, 2013

    Number of years Laurence Lovette has aged since the murder: 5.
    Eve Carson: 0.

    Lovette doesn't deserve to live one day longer.

  • Blaster Apr 26, 2013

    Come on, why waste time. Everyone in that court system knows what the ubiquitous Dr. Hilkey will say: "It's not his fault; he's not responsible; he couldn't premeditate; he's mentally ill". Why do you think he's the "go to" guy for the defense in nearly every capital or first degree murder trial. Just stipulate that's what the good Dr. will testify to.

  • shortcake53 Apr 26, 2013

    I say give him the same chance he gave Eve, NONE.

  • welfarequeen Apr 26, 2013

    This guy should have been executed after a 5 minute trial. Now they have to resentence him and possibly give him less time? Unreal. Our justice system is a joke anymore. Jimw

    I find it amazing that so many people think that we are soft on crime. Did you know that the USA has the highest % of citizens in jail in the entire world? The United States has less than 5 percent of the world's population, but it has almost a quarter of the world's prisoners. More than 2 1/2 MILLION Americans are locked up. 6.7 million adult men and women, 1 out of every 32 of us is either in prison or on parole from prison are now very non-voluntary members of America's "correctional community." And some of you people say we are " soft " on crime.

  • JimW Apr 26, 2013

    Wow, what a waste of taxpayer money. This guy should have been executed after a 5 minute trial. Now they have to resentence him and possibly give him less time? Unreal. Our justice system is a joke anymore.

  • Tax Man Apr 26, 2013

    A very quick hearing and resentence him to life without parole. Simple, effective and this turkey should never ever see the light of day again. So take away the "automatic" provision and "manually" sentence him to life w/o any possibility of parole. Case closed!

  • Jack Flash Apr 26, 2013

    "Why wait and torture the family of Eve Carson further?"

    Because justice needs to be right before it is quick.
    He is going to be resentenced to exactly what he was sentenced to before: life w/o possibility of parole. The problem is that sentence was imposed MANDATORILY, and b/c of his age, it can be an option but not the only, automatic option.

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