Lovette to Be Resentenced in Murder of Eve Carson

The N.C. Court of Appeals has ruled that Laurence Alvin Lovette will be resentenced for his part in the murder of Eve Carson ’08 in March 2008, The News & Observer of Raleigh has reported.

According to the report, the court ruled that an automatic sentence of life without parole was too harsh for someone of Lovette’s age — he was 17 at the time the crime occurred — and sent the case back to Orange County Superior Court. In 2008, that sentence was the mandatory minimum for first-degree murder convictions.

Lovette was convicted in December 2011 of murder in the death of the popular student body president. He also was convicted on robbery and kidnapping charges. Lovette and an accomplice, Demario James Atwater, were accused of forcing Carson into her vehicle and making her withdraw money from ATM machines before shooting her five times.

Atwater pleaded guilty and in September 2010 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.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that sentencing a youth to life without the possibility of parole constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

The N&O report includes observations from lawyers questioning whether the Supreme Court action applies retroactively.

Regardless, lawyers also are saying, according to The N&O, that Lovette still might spend the rest of his life in prison for the crime. James Woodall ’82, the district attorney for Orange and Chatham counties who also earned his law degree from UNC in 1985, said Lovette could receive the same sentence at his resentencing, which has not been scheduled. “The judge has that discretion,” Woodall told The N&O. “It just can’t be automatic.”

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