Local News

Eve Carson opposed death penalty, parents say

Posted October 28, 2008 11:37 a.m. EDT
Updated October 28, 2008 4:33 p.m. EDT

— Eve Carson's parents say their daughter did not support the death penalty – and neither do they.

But Orange County prosecutor Jim Woodall says that despite their beliefs, they support his decision to seek the death penalty against one of the two suspects charged in her death.

"I am aware of their position, and I respect it immensely," Woodall said. "They've also said they support me and what I feel I need to do to prosecute this case."

The district attorney announced in August that he plans to seek the death penalty against Demario James Atwater, 22, who is charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping in connection with Carson's death.

Police found the 22-year-old University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill senior dead in the middle of a residential street near the UNC campus while responding to gunshots in the early-morning hours of March 5.

Investigators believe Atwater and another man, Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr, 17, kidnapped Carson and forced her to withdraw $1,400 from ATMs before shooting her five times, including once in the head.

Atwater also faces federal carjacking charges, which could also allow federal authorities to seek a death sentence.

Lovette can't be executed if he is convicted in Carson's death. A 2005 U.S. Supreme Court ruling prohibits anyone who was under the age of 18 at the time of a crime to be executed.

No one has been sentenced to death in Orange County since North Carolina reinstated the death penalty in 1977. The last person executed for a crime there was in 1948.