No tipsters to be revealed in Carson case

February 4, 2010 2:54:22 PM PST
Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour announced his decision Thursday on information police received from Crimestoppers tip lines in the Eve Carson murder.

Investigators believe Carson was taken near her Chapel Hill home on the morning of March 5, 2008.

According to an autopsy report, Carson was shot five times. Investigators have said Demario Atwater and Laurence Lovette drove Carson's SUV to various ATMs in Chapel and Durham before the murder. They say the Athens, Georgia woman watched as hundreds of dollars were withdrawn from her bank account.

Both men are facing several charges, including first-degree murder, robbery and kidnapping. Federal prosecutors are also pursuing carjacking and weapons charges against Atwater, making him eligible for the death penalty if he's convicted.

After the murder, investigators got tips from Crimestoppers, and defense attorneys wanted to use that information at trial. But prosecutors said releasing the material would compromise a vital crime fighting tool as people who give tips about suspected criminals call the hotlines because they don't have to reveal their identity to police.

Thursday, Judge Baddour sided with prosecutors - saying that the identities of informants will remain confidential. But he did rule some information from Crimestoppers will be made available to the defense.

Attorneys also are awaiting a decision on the trial's location. The trial could move out of state. That decision is expected by next week.

The defense believes pre-trial publicity makes it impossible for Lovette and Atwater to get a fair hearing in Winston-Salem, where the trial's scheduled to begin in May.

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