Local News

State says Lovette murder appeal has no merit

Posted October 3, 2012 5:33 p.m. EDT
Updated October 3, 2012 7:32 p.m. EDT

— Attorneys for the state of North Carolina say convicted murderer Laurence Lovette's appeal has no merit, according to a brief filed Wednesday with the state Court of Appeals.

Lovette, 21, who was sentenced in December to life in prison without the possibility of parole after being convicted of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree armed robbery in the 2008 shooting death of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student body president Eve Carson.

His attorneys filed an appeal in August, arguing that the robbery conviction should be overturned due to a paperwork error in which prosecutors apparently failed to fill in Eve Carson's name on the indictment. 

The appeal further argues that the court abused its power during jury selection and that Lovette's attorney erred by conceding that the jury was going to find him guilty.

In Wednesday's filing, state attorneys contend that the blank line on the robbery indictment "does not cause the indictment to be defective." They also say that prosecutors did not ask any improper questions during jury selection and that the court didn't abuse its discretion by denying the defendant's challenges to three prospective jurors.

Furthermore, state attorneys argue, Lovette's trial attorney, Karen Bethea-Shields, never conceded his guilt during closing arguments and that she did not imply that the jury should find her client guilty.

Lovette and another man, Demario Atwater, kidnapped Carson from her Chapel Hill home in the early hours of March 5, 2008, and drove her in her SUV to two ATMs, where Lovette withdrew $700 from her bank account.

The pair then shot her five times in a neighborhood near UNC's campus and left her body in the street.

Atwater pleaded guilty to state and federal charges in May 2010.