HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. – Search warrants unsealed Friday describe what may have been the final terrifying moments in the life of a promising college student: Kidnapped while studying at home, taken in her own vehicle to be robbed at an ATM, and shot multiple times.
Despite strong objections by defense attorneys, Superior Court Judge R. Allen Baddour released six warrants that helped police arrest Laurence Lovette, 17, and Demario Atwater, 22. Both are charged with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Eve Carson, the former student body president at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Lovette's attorney, Karen Bethea-Shields, said the warrants largely rely on hearsay from a confidential informant that could unfairly taint potential jurors in the high-profile case.
"Things that you get, you must make sure that you understand these are just allegations and evidence will come from the courtroom," she said.
Jonathan Brown, a defense attorney for Atwater, said: "This is obviously a terrible tragedy, and we have great sympathy for the family and friends of Eve Carson. At this time, we just want to have the legal system do its job and avoid any rush to judgment."
The warrants contradict the original accounts of the slaying, which first appeared to be a random carjacking in Chapel Hill.
One warrant said a confidential informant told police that Lovette and Atwater entered Carson's home through an open door, took her and her vehicle to an ATM, and used her pin to withdraw $1,400 from her bank account.
Investigators found a Bank of America receipt from Carson's account near her vehicle when it was found a day after she was killed. There was a partial shoe print on the receipt, and investigators said they have seized several pairs of gym shoes from the suspects' homes, the warrants said.
The informant said Carson was shot multiple times by Lovette and was later shot by Atwater. An affidavit signed by State Bureau of Investigation agent Brian Flemming said the informant's statements were corroborated because two separate weapons were used in the shootings.
A warrant also says police have probable cause to believe "sexual assault of an unknown nature occurred," though neither Lovette nor Atwater has been charged with such an assault. Blood, hair and saliva samples have been taken from the suspects.
Carson was found dead March 5, laying in the middle of a residential street in Chapel Hill about a mile from campus. Police have said the Athens, Ga. native had been shot multiple times, including once in the right temple. The autopsy report remains sealed but was expected to be released next week.