Local News

Eve Carson search warrants will remain under wraps for now

Posted April 29, 2008 1:23 p.m. EDT
Updated April 29, 2008 9:15 p.m. EDT

— Search warrants related to the investigation into Eve Carson's murder must remain under seal, a Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday.

Earlier this month, The Durham Herald-Sun asked a court to make six search warrants related to the University of North Carolina senior's March 5 shooting death publicly available.

Following a hearing Monday on the motion, Judge Allen Baddour wrote in that the affidavits contain description and details about the case that could lead to the identification of confidential informants.

"Both confidential informants have been threatened (by persons other than the defendant or co-defendant) and both feel that their safety is at risk and that risk would be increased if their identities were widely known," he wrote.

Baddour also set a new hearing date on the matter for June 27 to determine whether the documents could be released then. Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall had asked the court Monday that they remain under seal for 60 more days.

Demario James Atwater, 21, and Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., 17, are each charged with first-degree murder in Carson's death. Police found the 22-year-old's body about a half-mile from the UNC campus while responding to reports of gunfire.

Baddour said he considered releasing parts of the warrants, but rejected doing so because disclosing even part of the warrants and the inventories of items seized would interfere with the investigation.

He also rejected redacting portions of the warrant – an alternative that the Herald-Sun's attorneys proposed on Monday – saying it would be necessary to redact "such a significant portion of the documents so as to render the exercise meaningless."

"The public has a right to information in criminal proceedings, but not in this specific case at this specific time when it interferes with the public’s interest in the investigation of crime, or the defendant’s right (and public’s right, for that matter) to a fair process, free from undue prejudice," Baddour wrote.