Current Date: Thu, 05 Dec 2013 19:23:25 -0500
The Durham man convicted last December in the murder of 2008 Student Body President Eve Carson will be resentenced, the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
Laurence Lovette, who was 17 years old at the time of Carson’s murder, was convicted of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, felony larceny and armed robbery in connection with Carson’s March 2008 death. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
The Court of Appeals opinion found no error in the trial, but concluded that the judge and jury were not given the opportunity to consider mitigating factors related to Lovette’s age before he was sentenced.
The opinion cited a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court case, Miller v. Alabama, where the court ruled a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole for juveniles at the time of a crime is cruel and unusual punishment.
According to the opinion, the court decision and the subsequent change to North Carolina law retroactively applies to Lovette’s case.
“We must vacate Defendant’s sentence of life imprisonment without parole and remand to the trial court for resentencing as provided in the Act. Following a resentencing hearing, the trial court shall, in its discretion, determine the appropriate sentence for Defendant and make findings of fact in
support thereof,” the court opinion states.
Carson — a 22-year-old Morehead-Cain Scholar from Athens, Ga. well known for her campus leadership and involvement — was found shot to death on the morning of March 5, 2008 in a Chapel Hill neighborhood about a mile from campus.
Prosecutors say she was abducted from her off-campus home in the early hours of March 5, taken to at least one ATM to withdraw money, and finally shot five times by Lovette and his co-defendant Demario James Atwater.
Atwater pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for her death in 2010 and is serving two life sentences.