CHAPEL HILL- Even though one of the two convicted murderers of former UNC student body president Eve Carson has been re-sentenced to life in prison without parole, Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall says Carson’s family members still have open wounds.
Woodall says Carson’s parents, who were present the original trial of Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., were also in the courtroom during the re-sentencing process.
“They are obviously still devastated by this, and they will be every day,” he says.
In late 2011, Lovette, now 22, was found guilty of first degree murder, kidnapping, and armed robbery in the Carson case. At the time, Lovette’s first-degree murder conviction meant an automatic sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole—but in February, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling found that if an offender is under age 18 at the time of his or her crime, he or she can’t receive such a sentence unless a judge first considers mitigating circumstances; Lovette was 17 at the time of Carson’s murder. On Monday, Judge Allen Baddour once again handed Lovette the sentence of life without parole.
The night of the murder, Woodall says Carson decided to study instead of going out with friends—a choice that her parents would have liked.
“Eve was doing what parents would have wanted their son or daughter to do—stay in and do schoolwork,” he says. “But these two stumbled upon her and turned her into a victim of a horrendous crime.”
Even though the murder took place more than five years ago, Woodall says the passage of time hasn’t made handling the case any less emotional for him.
“One of the things about this case that makes it so tragic and makes it hit so close to home is that this could have been anybody,” he says. “They were just in Chapel Hill to rob people. That’s what they came over with the intention of doing.”
In the early morning hours of March 5, 5008, prosecutors have said Lovette and another man, Demario Atwater, kidnapped Carson from her Chapel Hill home and drove her to nearby ATMs before shooting her five times. Atwater is also currently serving a life prison sentence for her murder.