Local News

UNC murder defense to get access to some Crime Stoppers tips

Posted February 4, 2010 5:20 p.m. EST
Updated February 4, 2010 5:31 p.m. EST

— A Superior Court judge on Thursday ruled attorneys representing the two suspects charged in the shooting death of UNC's former student body president should be allowed access to information dealing with some Crime Stoppers tips.

Judge Allen Baddour ruled that prosecutors have to turn over specific pieces of evidence that will not identify tipsters or informants.

The rest of the tips will remain protected.

Defense attorneys for Demario James Atwater and Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr. argued that they should see all of the information that would be helpful to their case, not just what authorities considered relevant.

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall argued that broader access to the Crime Stoppers information would expose the identities of callers, who are promised anonymity.

According to search warrants in the case, an anonymous caller connected detectives investigating Carson's March 5, 2008, shooting death to a confidential informant who ultimately led them to arrest Atwater and Lovette.

Police found Carson, 22, dead about a half-mile from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus while responding to early-morning reports of gunshots. She had been shot five times, according to an autopsy report.

Both Lovette and Atwater face a number of state charges in the case, including first-degree murder. Atwater also faces federal charges.

Both state and federal prosecutors have indicated they will seek the death penalty against Atwater.