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The Daily Tar Heel

Eve Carson case trials still not resolved

Lovette trial date not yet set

	Demario Atwater pleaded guilty to killing Eve Carson.

Demario Atwater pleaded guilty to killing Eve Carson.

This story appeared as part of the 2010 Year In Review issue. The Daily Tar Heel resumes publication Jan. 10.

One man has already received life in prison for the death of former student body president Eve Carson — but the fate of his co-defendant is undetermined.

Demario James Atwater, 23, received life in prison on two counts and 10 years in prison on three counts in September for federal kidnapping resulting in death and carjacking resulting in death after Carson was killed in March 2008.

Atwater pleaded guilty in a state hearing May 24 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.

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

Co-defendant Lawrence Alvin Lovette, 19, is charged with first-degree murder, but his trial date still has not been set.

Carson was found dead in March 2008 with five gunshot wounds and a wristband that said “Be True.”

Tom Maher, executive director of the state’s Office of Indigent Defense Services, said it’s not unusual for a case like Lovette’s to take so long to have a court date set.

His case is different from Atwater’s because Lovette was charged in Durham with the murder of a Duke student. Because the two counties will have to coordinate, the court date could be later.

But there’s still a good chance a plea bargain could be reached before then, Maher said.

“It’s not atypical for someone with a non-capital murder charge to plead to second-degree murder, for example,” Maher said. “Most cases don’t go to trial.

“If (Lovette) ended up with a very lengthy sentence and the people involved are satisfied with it, the public might be okay with that.”

Atwater 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.

He could be allowed a five-year supervised release during the life sentences, but it would be served after the life sentence concluded, Klauer said. As of Dec. 2, Atwater had not filed any appeals, she said.

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