Feds amend indictment against UNC murder suspect
Posted February 9, 2009 3:25 p.m. EST
Updated February 13, 2009 5:16 p.m. EST
Greensboro, N.C. — Federal prosecutors have revised indictments against one of two suspects in the slaying of a UNC student, adding stronger language.
The Jan. 30 indictment against Demario James Atwater, 22, says that the crime against Eve Marie Carson was "especially heinous, cruel and depraved … in that it involved torture and serious physical abuse."
Chapel Hill police believe Atwater and Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr. kidnapped Carson and forced her to withdraw $1,400 from ATMs before shooting her five times, including once in the head.
Police found Carson's body on March 5, 2008, while responding to reports of gunshots in a Chapel Hill neighborhood.
Atwater and Lovette were arrested within a week and charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping under state law.
If convicted of the state charges, Atwater could face the death penalty. Orange County juries, however, have rarely sentenced defendants to death row.
Under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Lovette is ineligible for the death penalty because he was under 18 at the time.
In October, a federal grand jury indicted Atwater on a charge of carjacking resulting in homicide. Days before the new presidential administration took office, outgoing U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey decided to seek the death penalty against Atwater.
Executions are rare in federal cases. Since 1977, there have been three, including Timothy McVeigh for his role in the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.