End of ordeal in Eve Marie Carson murder
Special Report by Carol Forsloff
CHAPEL HILL, NC – Eve Marie Carson was a popular student body President from the University of North Carolina.
Two thugs ended her life with five blasts from a gun after she was kidnapped from her home and taken to various ATMs to draw money from her account. In the end, her life was worth only $1,400 to the two young bandits who took her and left her dead.
The murder rocked not only the university, but also Chapel Hill – the town that is home to UNC and her home town of Athens, Georgia.
Now, Demario Atwater, 23, has entered a formal guilty plea to charges of kidnapping and carjacking resulting in death and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon as well as possession of a short-barreled shotgun that was not properly registered. He faces life in prison at sentencing but the plea deal saves him from the death penalty.
Following the plea, U.S. Attorney Anna Wagoner said, “Eve Carson’s murder was a senseless, random act of violence. Today’s plea spares Ms. Carson’s family and friends the uncertainty and pain of a drawn-out trial and endless appeals. We hope this resolution will help the Carson family put this horrendous act behind them, as best they can, and move on with their lives.”
Her parents issued a short statement: “While we deplore the evil and negligence that led to Eve’s death, we agree with the U.S. Attorney’s decision to accept the plea agreement. We are very grateful for the dedication and hard work that have gone into the investigation and prosecution of this crime.”
The plea agreement also ends concerns about a protracted trial in a community where defense attorneys had been concerned about finding an impartial jury to try the killers of a popular and beloved young woman who continues to be memorialized in Chapel Hill.
It also brings closure to charges of criminal negligence regarding both Atwater and his accused accomplice, Laurence Lovette, who was 17 at the time of Carson’s killing.
Atwater had been convicted of two felonies in February 2005 but never placed under probation.
Laurence Lovette was serving a two-year suspended sentence for larceny and breaking and entering. During the two months prior to Carson’s killing he was arrested several more times for stealing and burglary and let go each time. His probation officer at the time had 120 cases.
Eve Marie Carson had been the student body President of the University of North Carolina when she was forced by Demario Atwater and his accused accomplice Laurence Lovette, from her home at 4 a.m. on the morning of March 5, 2008 and taken to several ATMs where her killers used her card to withdraw $1400 from her back account.
When her body was found later that morning in the middle of a street in Chapel Hill, it was found she had been shot five times in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun.
Carson was just 22 years old at the time.
Carson was said to have been involved in the lives of literally thousands of people who came to know her for her accomplishments.
Her family was described as close and supportive, and she had once written as evidence of the simplicity of her life, “I have grown up in a household un-preoccupied with the grand advances of technology. . . . I have walked to and from school, I have gone to the public library to type my papers, I have learned how the seasons feel in our unheated, un-air-conditioned and drafty home, and I have become a deft dishwasher.”
On Facebook her former classmates and friends spoke of Carson’s many abilities and good deeds.
She had been a serious student with superior grades, Vice President of the National Honor Society.
At Clarke Central High School in Athens, she had served as a volunteer “peer educator” at a safe house for abused and runaway teenagers. She had been a page in the U.S. House of Representatives after her sophomore year. She had also worked as a lab assistant in stem-cell research at the University of Georgia.
While in college, Carson had continued her community service work and her commitment to helping others. She had been given a Morehead-Cain Scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she was voted student body President. She belonged to student organizations to eradicate global poverty and hunger, was a science tutor in the local public schools, and served as captain of several intramural sports teams.
Through enrichment programs Carson traveled, worked and studied in Cuba, Egypt and Ecuador. In Ecuador she volunteered as a physician’s assistant to a traveling doctor in a rural area and worked on a coffee farm. She had taught computer skills to indigenous peoples in the Amazon rain forest and for a U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit in Cairo.
Carson was known for her interest in “ethical-economical” models of international development and was reported to have read widely in these areas and have interest in pursuing an interest to make herself as useful to the world as possible.
Posthumously Carson was given the prestigious Chancellor’s Award for most outstanding woman in the senior class and two merit scholarships were established in her name after her death. 1700 people contributed to the first of those scholarship funds, totaling $380,000. Many other memorials have been devoted to her memory in the town of Chapel Hill.
Following Atwater’s guilty plea, Carson’s parents said in a statement, “While we deplore the evil and negligence that led to Eve’s death, we agree with the U.S. attorney’s decision to accept the plea agreement.” That “negligence” referred to the fact that both Atwater and Louvette were in violation of probation or parole terms at the time of her killing.
By his guilty plea, Atwater acknowledges that a sentence of life imprisonment will be imposed. “A life sentence in the federal criminal justice system means just that: life without the possibility of parole or early release,” said Anna Wagoner.