Atwater Gets Federal Life Sentence in Carson's Murder

Demario James Atwater received a life prison sentence in Federal District Court in Winston-Salem Thursday for the killing of former Student Body President Eve Carson ’08, who was shot to death two months before she was to graduate in 2008.

According to The News & Observer of Raleigh, the Durham man received a life sentence for kidnapping resulting in death, a life sentence and two 10-year sentences on carjacking and weapons charges, and a 10-year sentence for discharging a weapon resulting in death.

Atwater also was ordered to pay more than $212,000 in restitution if he ever gets out of prison. The newspaper quoted Judge James Beatty as saying, “It’s not likely the defendant under any circumstance will be on supervised release.”

Atwater pleaded guilty last spring to state charges of kidnapping and murder. In April, he entered the same plea to federal carjacking, kidnapping and weapons charges. Both plea arrangements included an agreement to spare him the death penalty.

Atwater and Laurence Alvin Lovette encountered Carson in the early morning hours of March 5, 2008, either inside or just outside her home on Friendly Lane near downtown Chapel Hill. They kidnapped her and drove in her vehicle to automatic teller machines in Orange and Durham counties, where they forced Carson to withdraw $1,400. Prosecutors said Carson then was shot five times, the last of those a shot from a sawed-off shotgun that killed her immediately, the medical examiner said.

Lovette also is charged in the crimes, and his trial is pending. Lovette was a minor at the time and thus is ineligible for the death penalty. Prosecutors have said Lovette’s DNA had been found in the vehicle.

The paper said Atwater apologized to Carson’s parents Thursday, and that he and his attorneys declined to present a statement they had prepared on Atwater’s “life of hardship.”

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