Atwater Pleads to State Charges in Murder of Eve Carson

Demario James Atwater appears to be headed for a life sentence without the possibility of parole in the kidnapping and shooting death of Eve Carson ’08. Atwater pleaded guilty Monday to state charges of kidnapping and murder, according to media reports. In April, he entered the same plea to federal carjacking, kidnapping and weapons charges.

Sentencing is scheduled for September, and both plea arrangements included an agreement to spare him the death penalty.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported that Monday’s hearing revealed that Atwater had discussed his role in the crimes with his girlfriend, including his having fired the shot that killed Carson.

Laurence Alvin 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.

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall ’82 said the details Atwater shared with his girlfriend led to his arrest.

According to the newspaper, Woodall said Atwater and 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. Woodall 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.

Woodall said Lovette’s DNA had been found in the vehicle.

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