Local News

Multiple gunshots killed Eve Carson

Posted June 30, 2008 4:02 a.m. EDT
Updated July 15, 2008 6:25 a.m. EDT

— The slain student body president at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was shot five times, including once to her head with a shotgun, according to an autopsy report released on Monday.

The 14-page report details the multiple gunshot wounds it lists as Eve Carson's cause of death, saying she was shot with a shotgun to the right temple and also sustained a wound to her right hand – likely because she had raised her right arm to protect herself.

"These wounds most likely represent a single shot with the hand acting as an intermediate target," the report said.

Carson also had four other gunshot wounds to the right shoulder, right upper arm, right buttocks and right cheek.

Chapel Hill police found the 22-year-old Athens, Ga., native dead March 5 on a street several blocks from the UNC campus while responding to shots of gunfire.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner's report of investigation said she was lying in the street, tilted on her left hip with her right arm bent behind her head.

She was wearing a light gray T-shirt, dark blue sweat pants and athletic shoes, as well as a yellow metal necklace with a yellow metal locket and a white paper wristband printed with "Be True" and "Nike," the report stated.

Dr. Michael Teague, a forensic psychologist and criminal profiler, says that the manner in which Carson was shot shows a "complete lack of regard for another person."

"I don't see any element from going through the autopsy that there was any concern for this victim," he said. "It's just like she was the repository for their anger, and how dare she say no to them, whatever she said no to them for."

Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., 17, and Demario James Atwater, 22, are each charged with first-degree murder.

Although he would not elaborate, Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said Monday that more charges could be filed against them on July 7. That is the next time the Orange County grand jury meets.

Search warrants released Friday suggest both suspects might have shot Carson; a confidential informant told investigators that Atwater told her Lovette shot Carson multiple times and that Atwater subsequently shot her.

Among the items authorities sought, according to the warrants, were a shotgun and a .25 caliber pistol. Although no weapons were seized in the execution of those warrants, detectives did take two shotgun shells from Atwater's home.

A Superior Court judge agreed to have the autopsy and six search warrants sealed after the district attorney raised concerns that the premature release of the documents could compromise the investigation.

Defense attorneys for both Atwater and Lovette objected to the documents' release, calling the information hearsay and saying it could taint a potential jury pool.

Woodall would not comment on the autopsy report in detail except to say it showed a handgun and a shotgun were used in the attack on Carson.

"It was the primary reason we asked that it be sealed" during the investigation, Woodall told The Associated Press, declining further comment.

Up next in the case is a hearing, scheduled for Monday, to determine whether Atwater will be tried on capital murder charges. Woodall will not say whether he will seek the death penalty against Atwater if he is tried and convicted.

Under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Lovette cannot be tried on capital murder charges, because he was under the age of 18 at the time he allegedly committed the crime.

Lovette is also charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 18 shooting death of Duke University graduate student Abhijit Mahato, 29. An autopsy found that he had been shot once at point-blank range in the forehead.