Prosecutors outline case in Carson murder

CHAPEL HILL Federal court documents spell out why prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the killing of the UNC student body president.

Read the documents (.pdf)

Last week, Eyewitness News reported a new indictment charging Demario Atwater. Prosecutors believe Atwater tortured Eve Carson in her last moments, and they believe he killed her because she could identify him in her kidnapping, carjacking and robbery.

The seven page notice of intent to seek the death penalty says Atwater fired the final shot that eventually killed Carson.

Prosecutors say she was particularly vulnerable, because she had already been wounded by four small caliber gunshots when Atwater fired a single shot at close range through her hand and into her brain.

The notice, filed Friday in a U.S. district court, doesn’t indicate whether police believe Atwater fired any of the other shots, but it does describe his alleged part as heinous, cruel and depraved.

Prosecutors say Atwater destroyed evidence - including weapons - and that he involved a minor in the commission of the homicide - another of several aggravating factors for the death penalty.

Both Atwater and Lawrence Lovette Junior are accused of carjacking, kidnapping and murdering Carson last March. Lovette was 17-years-old at the time.

Police believe both kidnapped the 22-year-old student from her rented home on West Rosemary Street in Chapel Hill, then forced her into her car and took her to an ATM to make her witdraw $1,400 in cash.

Carson was later found shot to death on a quiet street near the UNC campus.

Lovette will not face the death penalty because he was younger than 18-years-old at the time of the killing.

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