Clerk of Court race turns ugly

October 28, 2010 7:31:23 PM PDT
Wake County Clerk of Court candidate Jan Pueschel doesn't mince words. The Republican has caused a stir with allegations in an e-mail from her campaign.

In it, she accuses incumbent Clerk of Court - Democrat Lorrin Freeman - with "disregard for a state law that could have aided in Eve Carson's murder."

Carson was the UNC student body president killed in 2008 by Demario James Atwater. He pleaded guilty to her murder earlier this year.

Atwater appeared in a Wake County courtroom days before the murder for a probation violation hearing. But his paperwork was sent to the wrong court and his case was continued - allowing him out on the streets.

Pueschel alleges that Freeman has a legal responsibility under state law.

"That law says that anytime a matter comes before the court, that the clerk must produce the file," she told ABC11.

Freeman admits there was a paperwork mix-up, but vehemently denies it led to Carson's murder.

"It's absolutely untrue. It's inaccurate. There was nothing that my office did that day that would have changed the fact that Demario Atwater was able to walk out of the courthouse that day," she said.

"I think it's really tragic that Ms. Pueschel has decided to use a very terrible situation to further her political career," she continued.

But Pueschel sticks by her statement.

"If she thinks something probably would have happened, I'm not going to dispute that. But if he had appeared in the right court, a Superior Court judge could have increased his bail," she told ABC11.

Despite the strong allegations - Pueschel says she doesn't blame Freeman for Carson's murder. Both women will fight for the job right down to Tuesday's election.

"I will assure them that the laws will be followed and the procedures will be in place so that files are not lost," said Pueschel.

"We've built a very good reputation over the past four years of working hard to serve the people of Wake County. We've had a lot of great success," said Freeman.

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