Local News

Lovette again gets life without parole for murder of Eve Carson

Posted June 3, 2013 7:47 a.m. EDT
Updated June 3, 2013 7:40 p.m. EDT

— A Superior Court judge on Monday sentenced again Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr. – one of two men convicted in the shooting death five years ago of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student body president Eve Carson – to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Lovette, 22, automatically received the sentence when he was convicted of first-degree murder on Dec. 20, 2011, but the state Court of Appeals ruled in February that Judge Allen Baddour revisit the punishment because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that offenders under age 18 at the time of a crime can't receive life sentences without parole unless mitigating circumstances are considered.

Lovette was 17 years old on March 5, 2008, when, prosecutors said, Carson, 22, a popular UNC senior from Athens, Ga., endured a nearly two-hour early-morning ordeal in which Lovette and another man kidnapped her from her Chapel Hill home and drove her to ATMs, where Lovette withdrew money from her bank account.

The pair then drove Carson to a neighborhood about a mile from UNC's campus, where she begged for her life before being shot five times, including a fatal shot through her right hand and head.

"You know, people make mistakes. Nobody's perfect. I'm not the monster that y'all made me out to be," Lovette said Monday prior to Baddour sentencing him. "I know that this has been a traumatic ordeal for everybody involved. For that, I send my condolences to everybody who's been affected by it. If it means anything to anybody, it means something to me."

In resentencing him, Baddour said he felt there was no chance of Lovette being rehabilitated, despite testimony from psychologist James Hilkey, who said he did not believe Lovette was "irretrievably corrupt."

On the surface, Lovette appears as a self-centered, uncaring and callous person, Hilkey said, adding that he has observed a level of compassion that makes him think that Lovette has potential to change.

"Whether that will happen, I don't know," Hilkey said.

Lovette was raised in a middle-class home by supportive and caring parents who tried to provide a good life for their son, Hilkey said, but he gravitated toward street life despite his father trying to influence him to hang around with the right people. His father's death, when Lovette was 12 years old, led him down a path of reckless and impulsive behavior.

But Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said that behavior predated the elder Lovette's death and that, from the time he was 13 until 16, Lovette was convicted on 16 felony charges and seven misdemeanor crimes.

As Lovette got older, Woodall said, he failed to take advantage of the opportunities he had to be rehabilitated, and the crimes escalated – from trespassing to stealing cars to breaking and entering to first-degree burglaries to murder.

Lovette's also awaiting trial for the January 2008 shooting death of Duke University graduate student Abhijit Mahato, a mechanical engineering student from India who was found dead inside his Durham apartment.

"He is a predator. He does not care about consequences. He does not care about other people. He cares about one person. He cares about Laurence Lovette," Woodall said. "He should not be allowed to ever victimize another person."

Carson's parents were present for Monday's hearing but did not speak. Her father, Bob Carson, however, said afterward that he wasn't surprised by Lovette's court statement.

Woodall said he wasn't convinced.

"I do not think Laurence Lovette has any remorse," he said. "I think his only remorse is that he's been convicted, and he's going to spend the rest of his life in prison."