Death penalty to be sought in NC student slaying

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Associated Press Writer

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) — Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against a man charged in the kidnapping and fatal shooting of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student body president Eve Carson.

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall told a judge during a court hearing Monday that he plans to seek the execution of Demario James Atwater, 22. Jurors in Orange County haven’t sentenced anyone to death since North Carolina resumed executions in 1984.

Atwater and Laurence Alvin Lovette, 17, are charged with first-degree murder in Carson’s death. The death penalty can’t be sought against Lovette because of his age.

Carson, 22, of Athens, Ga. was found dead March 5 in a residential street near campus. She was shot five times, including once in the head, according to an autopsy.

Woodall said Monday that Atwater shot Carson in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun after he and Atwater kidnapped Carson and drove her to several ATMs. Woodall said about $1,400 was taken from her account.

Atwater also is charged with first-degree kidnapping, felonious larceny, armed robbery and felonious possession of stolen goods.

After his arrest in Carson’s death, authorities charged Lovette in the death of Duke University graduate student Abhijit Mahato. Mahato was found dead Jan. 18 in his apartment near the university’s campus in Durham, about a 20-minute drive from Chapel Hill.

Stephen Oates, 19, of Durham, also is charged with murder in Mahato’s death. An autopsy report found that Mahato was shot once in the forehead.