Posted on August 11, 2008

DA Will Pursue Death Penalty for Atwater

News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), August 11, 2008

The Orange County District Attorney announced today he intends to pursue the death penalty for the man charged with killing UNC-Chapel Hill’s student body president.

District Attorney Jim Woodall said there are potential aggravating factors that would justify the death penalty for Demario Atwater, 22, should he be convicted of murder.

Last month, a grand jury indicted Atwater and Laurence Lovette with more charges of armed robbery, first-degree kidnapping, felonious larceny and possession of stolen goods, in addition to Carson’s murder.


Woodall said during today’s hearing prosecutors believe that Atwater and Lovette were on foot on Rosemary Street in the Chapel Hill area, looking to rob people.

There were varying statements made about whether Carson was taken from her home or if the two men pretended their car was broken down and then took her, Woodall said.

Most likely, they abducted Carson just outside her home, Woodall said.


After the hearing, Woodall said he had talked to Carson’s parents, and that they would support his decision.

Orange County has not sent anyone to death row since 1970; no offender in Orange County has been executed since 1948.

Lovette, 17, is not eligible for the death penalty because of his age.

Lovette is charged also with first-degree murder in the death of Abhijit Mahato, a Duke University engineering student from Bengal, India, shot in a robbery in January.