Demario Atwater to serve life in prison

Lovette waits for state trial to start

Demario Atwater was sentenced to life in prison on two counts.

Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., who is charged with the murder of former student body president Eve Carson.

More than two years since men kidnapped and shot UNC’s student body president, one killer’s legal journey through two court systems has landed him in prison for life.

Demario James Atwater, 23, received his federal sentence in Winston-Salem Thursday after pleading guilty to charges related to former Student Body President Eve Carson’s death.

He was sentenced to life in prison on two counts and 10 years in prison on three counts.

He also was ordered to pay more than $212,900 in restitution, said Lynne Klauer, spokeswoman for the federal court in the Middle District of North Carolina.

The life sentences are for federal counts of kidnapping resulting in death and carjacking resulting in death.

Atwater can serve the sentences at the same time.

He will serve 10 more years for three separate weapons charges.

“The sentences are as expected based on the pleas,” she said.

He could be allowed a five-year supervised release during the life sentences, Klauer said.

Judge James A. Beaty Jr. advised Atwater of his right to an appeal and said that the sentences cannot be served at the same time as any sentences in state court.

Atwater already has accepted a state sentence of life in prison without parole in exchange for the state not pursuing the death penalty.

He pleaded guilty during a May 24 Orange County hearing to first-degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, first-degree kidnapping, possession of a firearm by convicted felon, felonious larceny and possession of a weapon of mass destruction.

The Carson family said at the state sentencing that the life sentence without the chance of parole was concordant to the family’s wishes.

Carson was known to be outspoken against capital punishment.Prosecutors say on March 5, 2008, Atwater and Lawrence Alvin Lovette Jr. kidnapped Carson from her home.

They then drove Carson in her blue 2005 Toyota Highlander to a bank to withdraw $1,400 from her account before shooting her five times in a neighborhood off East Franklin Street.

Lovette, Atwater’s co-defendant for the crime, was never charged in federal court and has not yet gone to trial in state court.

Lovette faces an additional murder charge for the March 13 killing of Abhijit Mahato, a Duke University graduate student.

He is not eligible for the death penalty in either case because he was 17 years old at the time of both crimes.

Lovette’s state court date has yet to be scheduled.

Contact the City Editor at citydesk@unc.edu.

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