Death Penalty Sought Against Carson Suspect

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall ’82 has asked for and received permission to seek the death penalty for one of the men accused in the murder of Eve Carson ’08.

According to The News & Observer of Raleigh, Demario Atwater could be the first person in Orange sentenced to the death penalty since 1973.

Atwater is charged with Laurence Lovette, who is ineligible for the death penalty due to his age, with the brutal murder of the popular student body president in March.

The newspaper reported that Superior Court Judge Thomas Lock ’78 approved the case for the death penalty on three legal grounds: that Atwater killed Carson during a robbery; that he killed her for financial gain; and that it was “especially heinous, atrocious or cruel.”

Details of how the crime allegedly unfolded have emerged. According to The N&O:

Woodall said Atwater and Lovette were walking along East Rosemary Street at about 3:30 a.m. on March 5, looking for someone to rob. They saw a light in Carson’s house and could see a person through open blinds.

The paper reported that an e-mail on Carson’s account was opened at 3:35 a.m. Twenty minutes after that, an ATM camera caught Lovette using Carson’s ATM card. About an hour later, Carson was dead.

Woodall told the newspaper that Atwater had told conflicting stories – that the two had kidnapped Carson from her house and that they had feigned car trouble to lure her out.

Previous reports said Carson was forced into her SUV. She was found shot to death less than a mile from her home near the campus.

Search warrants and the autopsy report revealed that she was shot at least five times with two different weapons, according to published reports.

Carson, who was 22 and a popular and dynamic student leader, was mourned by students, faculty and staff who packed Polk Place to hear Chancellor James Moeser speak about her the day after she was killed. Thousands turned out for a candlelight vigil that night in the Pit, and some 10,000 people gathered again a week later in the Smith Center for a celebration of her life.

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