HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. – An Orange County jury found Laurence Lovette guilty Tuesday of first-degree murder in the 2008 death of UNC student body president Eve Carson.
Lovette was also found guilty of first-degree kidnapping, robbery with a firearm, felony larceny and felony possession of stolen goods.
Lovette and Demario Atwater were accused of kidnapping Carson from her off-campus home in Chapel Hill in the early-morning hours of March 5, 2008, forcing her into her car and driving her to ATMs so they could steal money from her bank account. She was later shot and killed.
District Attorney James Woodall described the atrocity of the case.
"I've heard a read about crimes that were brutal and meaningless and there's never been one more brutal and meaningless than this crime," said Woodall.
Despite the somber mood in the courtroom, Judge Allan Baddour reminded everyone not to forget the person Eve Carson was.
"She continues to serve as an inspiration not just for her family but for thousands in this community and across this country," said Hon. Baddour.
More than 30 witnesses testified on the state's behalf. Among them were friends and acquaintances who said Lovette came clean to them about murdering the young woman. SBI agents were able to link Lovette to the crime using DNA and cell phone evidence.
Defense attorneys argued that Atwater was the one who killed Carson. Attorney Karen Bethea-Shields maintained her client's innocence.
"He wouldn't have remorse if he pleaded not guilty. As far as being human and compassionate, he's very compassionate," said Bethea-Shields.
The defendant's only sign of emotion in court came when he awknowledged his family as bailiffs led him away to prison. Lovette was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Since he was a minor at the time of the crime, he is not eligible for the death penalty.