Local News

Police Capture 2nd Suspect in UNC Student's Slaying

Posted March 13, 2008 3:44 a.m. EDT
Updated March 19, 2008 11:25 a.m. EDT

— Heavily armed Durham police, surrounding a house before dawn Thursday, captured the second of two men charged with murder in the shooting of the student body president at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., 17, surrendered to officers from the department's Selective Enforcement Team outside a house on Cook Road at 4:16 a.m. Police had surrounded the house hours before after receiving an anonymous tip through the Durham County Sheriff's Office. (Watch video of authorities taking Lovette to a police car as news photographers follow him.)

SET officers, the Hostage Negotiation Team, Criminal Investigations/Homicide and the Mobile Command Post responded after officers set up the perimeter at the house.

Negotiators worked for more than an hour and a half to communicate with Lovette. He began talking with them after he was provided with a telephone, police said. He later agreed to surrender peacefully.

Lovette's arrest came about 24 hours after Durham police arrested the other suspect at another Durham home. They took Demario James Atwater, 21, of 414-B Macon St., into custody at about 5 a.m. Wednesday during a raid at a house on Rosedale Avenue.

He spent most of Wednesday being questioned at the Chapel Hill Police Department, and detectives charged him Wednesday afternoon with one count of first-degree murder in the March 5 slaying of the 22-year-old Carson.  (Watch video of Atwater’s bail arraignment.)

Wednesday, police had raided a house on Shepherd Street looking for Lovette. They did not find him then and continued searching through Wednesday evening.

In announcing Atwater's arrest on Wednesday, Chapel Hill Police Chief Brian J. Curran said, "This is still an active and ongoing investigation." He declined to comment on specific details about the killing.

Curran said Atwater and Lovette were the men captured in two sets of surveillance photos made public in the days following Carson's death. Investigators received hundreds of calls because of their release, he said.

Lovette was identified as the driver in ATM surveillance photos. Police were trying to pin down whether he was driving Carson's blue Toyota Highlander at the time.

Two surveillance photos from a convenience store show a man, whom police said was Atwater, inside at the time an attempt was made to use Carson’s debit card at an ATM in that store.

Atwater has a criminal record dating to 2004, including charges of robbery, drug possession and resisting arrest. He was due in court earlier this month on a breaking-and-entering charge.

In 2006, he was sentenced to 24 months' probation for possession of a firearm as a felon. He had a court date on that charge the week before Carson's death.

Court records also show Lovette has a criminal background, with charges of breaking and entering and larceny. He is on probation for larceny and is due in Durham court this month on charges of first-degree burglary, felony larceny of a motor vehicle and felony larceny after breaking and entering.