Local News

Search warrants in UNC slaying could be unsealed in June or July

Posted May 21, 2008 4:36 p.m. EDT
Updated May 22, 2008 12:02 a.m. EDT

— Orange County's district attorney says he would agree to unseal search warrants relating to the Eve Carson murder investigation within the next 30 to 45 days.

At that point, District Attorney Jim Woodall said, he does not think it will be necessary to protect information that has been used to conduct interviews in the ongoing investigation of the killing of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student body president.

Last month, Superior Court Judge R. Allen Baddour ordered the search warrants would stay sealed because affidavits attached to them contain descriptions and details about the case that could lead to the identification of confidential informants. Another hearing on the matter is scheduled for June 27.

Woodall has also requested Carson's autopsy be sealed, but Baddour has not decided on that request.

The court was to hear a motion Wednesday by the News & Observer to have the autopsy released, but the hearing was delayed until June 11 because the attorney for one of the suspects, Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., had not yet received the papers.

Woodall also said Wednesday that he has nearly 2,000 pages of discovery files and that investigators have conducted more interviews in the case than any other he has ever worked on.

"There are police reports, investigative reports. There's been a lot of interviews done in this case," he said. "And there's still more interviews to do."

On March 5, police found Carson, 22, about a half-mile from the UNC campus while responding to reports of gunfire. Lovette, 17, and Demario James Atwater, 21, both of Durham, were arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

Authorities have not said how Carson died, but a stolen-vehicle report that police filed after her vehicle was found elsewhere in Chapel Hill indicated she was shot in the head.

Lovette was also in court Wednesday for a bond hearing. His attorney requested a $500,000 secured bond, but the judge denied the request. Lovette is being held without bond in the Durham County Jail.

A report by Durham City Manager Patrick Baker released Wednesday also reveals that Lovette should have been in jail at the time of Carson's slaying. He was not because police didn't file appropriate charges against Lovette during a November break-in, according to the report.

A hearing is scheduled for July 7 to determine whether Atwater, who's being held at Central Prison in Raleigh, will face the death penalty if he's convicted.

Lovette would not be eligible for the death penalty. A 2005 U.S. Supreme Court ruling prohibits executing anyone who was under 18 at the time of a crime for which an adult could be executed.