UNC students celebrate life of murdered classmate

Eve Carson, 22, was UNC Chapel Hill student body president. She was killed March 5, 2008.
March 4, 2010 3:52:25 PM PST
UNC-Chapel Hill students paid tribute Thursday to a classmate who was murdered off campus.

Two years ago this month, shock and grief hit the school when word came out that senior and student body president Eve Carson had been shot and killed.

"She was all about service -- all about giving back to the community," one classmate recalled.

About 200 people attended the event and all said they wanted it to be a positive and uplifting occasion.

Eve Carson's parents and brother also attended the dedication.

The student who succeeded Carson as UNC student body president read several dedications from some who knew her well and others who didn't know her at all.

"There are moments in life that cause us to pause and appreciate the people around us and the goodness of the world," UNC Student Body President Jasmin Jones said. "That is exactly what this day means to me."

Now, not far from where an impromptu memorial board sprang up the day the campus learned of her death, a garden has been dedicated in her honor.

"Eve inspired us all - her family, her fellow students and trustees and her professors to work harder," UNC Board of Trustee Chairman Bob Winston said. "We will always remember her enthusiasm and her persistence."

Carson remains a part of the community with a scholarship and an annual charitable run in her name.

The garden is a tribute to Carson, but it is also intended as a place to honor all Carolina students who pass away before they graduation.

It will have flowers and shrubs that were some of Carson's favorites, along with a quote from her on a marble wall.

"Learn from every single being, experience, and moment," Carson once said. "What joy it is to search for lessons and goodness and enthusiasm in others."

While dozens of friends, dignitaries and students honor Carson, the two men charged with her murder, Demario Atwater and Laurence Lovette, Jr., remain in jail awaiting trials in both state and federal court.

Attorneys for Atwater are trying to get his federal death penalty trial moved to Virginia.

"I would be surprised if they move it to Virginia," said Dan Boyce, a former federal prosecutor and long time private attorney.

Atwater's attorneys have subpoenaed 60 news organizations across the state - including ABC11 Eyewitness News - for copies of stories related to the case.

Although Carson's shooting death was major news, there have been many other high profile murders in North Carolina. And Boyce says he doesn't believe publicity will have tainted the jury pool across the state.

"When you get in and the judge asks the question, 'has anyone in this jury seen, heard or read about this particular case?' No hands go up," he said. "So, sometimes we as lawyers think everybody's paying attention, a lot more attention, to our case than actually is happening."

The issue will go before a federal judge on March 10 in Winston-Salem.

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