Posted on October 28, 2008

Federal Grand Jury Indicts Suspect in Carson Murder

AP, October 27, 2008

A federal grand jury on Monday indicted one of two men accused in the slaying of the student body president at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, adding on to state murder charges.

Demario Atwater, 22, was indicted on one count of carjacking resulting in death, and carrying and using firearms during and in relation to carjacking, both of which could allow federal authorities to seek a death sentence.

State prosecutors had already charged both Atwater and Laurence Lovette, 17, with murder in the March 5 death of Eve Carson, 22, of Athens, Ga. Her body was found early that morning in the middle of a residential street near the school’s campus. She had been shot five times, including once in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun.

Atwater already faces the death penalty if convicted on state murder charges. Lovette can’t be sentenced to death in either state or federal court because the crime was committed before he turned 18.

U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey must approve seeking a death sentence in the federal case. Prosecutors said Monday he has yet to do so. The federal indictment also charges Atwater with being a felon in possession of firearms and possessing a short-barreled shotgun that had not been properly registered to him.

“Both federal and state law violations are implicated in the tragic events of March 5, 2008, and we will vigorously prosecute the violations of federal law committed in connection with the death of Eve Marie Carson,” Anna Mills Wagoner, the U.S. Attorney for the middle district of North Carolina, said in a statement.


[Editor’s Note: This story is included here because the two murders occurred within a day of each other. The murder of Eve Carson has tended to get more news, but the news editor does not wish Lauren Burk’s murder to be forgotten merely because there has been less coverage. ]

Man Accused of Auburn Student’s Murder Indicted

Tuscaloosa News, May 15, 2008

The man accused of killing an Auburn University student in March has been indicted on three capital murder charges.

Courtney Lockhart was also indicted on a charge of robbing a business in his Smiths Station hometown.

The Auburn student, 18-year-old Lauren Burk, was killed on March 4. She was found lying in the roadway on Alabama Highway 147 and died of a gunshot wound at a local hospital.