This story was originally published in January after the trial of Laurence Alvin Lovette, a man accused in Eve Carson’s murder, was found guilty. Today, on the anniversary of her death, it’s republished here in her memory. See the Eve Carson topic page for more, and share your memories of Eve on Facebook.
Eve Marie Carson’s murder was a random crime — but it has left a permanent mark on the University and those who knew the vibrant, beloved 2008 student body president.
On Dec. 20, the almost four-year legal journey for the Durham man charged with Carson’s March 2008 murder came to a close.
A look at the police and University reactions to Eve Carson’s murder:
Brian Curran was the chief of the Chapel Hill Police Department when Eve Carson was murdered in 2008. Curran, whose agency led the investigation into her murder, said Carson’s murder not only posed an unprecedented challenge to his department but also changed the way it interacts with the surrounding community.
“There was a tremendous amount of pressure to solve this case,” said Curran, who had only been police chief for four or five months at the time of the murder. He said that the pressure was escalated by the media attention the case attracted and the challenge of involving nearby agencies who wanted to assist while maintaining a cohesive investigation.
“We initially didn’t have a lot to go on,” he said. “I was having to make people go home to sleep.”
But he said that after much hard work, the pieces came into place and police were able to draw conclusions and arrest Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr. and Demario James Atwater.
After more than three years, Curran said it is gratifying to see both of the men police believed to be responsible for Carson’s murder found guilty and sentenced to jail and taken off the streets.
“The whole thing is just a very sad case – the affect that Eve’s death had on the town, it was profound.”
Curran said he believes people in Chapel Hill feel differently about safety following the murder.
“I think it certainly impacted how people felt about safety,” Curran said. “This was a really random crime… there really wasn’t a whole lot that Eve could have done to make this turn out differently.”
He said that the murder prompted better communication between Chapel Hill police, the University administration, and student groups like fraternity and sororities.
Winston Crisp, who was assistant vice chancellor for student affairs when Carson was killed in 2008, said that her death affected how the University views safety – and took a brilliant, beloved individual away from her peers and administrators.
Crisp said that the fact that Carson’s killing happened during the era of the Virginia Tech shootings shook the sense of security people once felt on campus.
“No one ever thought of this kind of a thing happening around a college,” he said. “As administrators, you’re looking a new sort of reality.”
He said that though Lovette’s sentencing and the conclusion of court proceedings relating to the Carson case will likely provide closure to individuals, it is unlikely to have major affects on the University as a whole. He said that the case’s main impact was felt when Carson herself was lost.
“Beyond being a student and beyond being Student Body President, Eve was also Eve,” he said. “We lost a smart, witty, vibrant, intelligent young person.”
Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., 21, was found guilty of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, armed robbery and felony larceny in connection with Carson’s death and sentenced to life in prison — ending a three-week trial that revealed new details about Carson’s final hours.
Carson was found dead in a Chapel Hill neighborhood on the morning of March 5, 2008, after being kidnapped from her home, taken to withdraw money from her bank account and shot five times.