Carson shot 5 times, autopsy shows

Staff WriterJuly 1, 2008 

— Eve Carson held her hand in front of her head as a killer fired a shotgun that sent birdshot through her hand and into her right temple, according to an autopsy report released Monday.

The report confirmed that Carson, the student body president at UNC-Chapel Hill, was shot at least five times by two weapons.

In all, she suffered bullet wounds to her right cheek, shoulder, upper arm and buttocks, and shotgun wounds to her right hand and head, according to the report of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

The report did not identify any single shot as the fatal one.

Carson, 22, was found March 5 on a residential street not far from campus. She was lying on her back, tilted onto her left hip, and her arm was bent behind her head, according to the autopsy report. She wore a T-shirt and sweat pants.

The medical examiner's office recovered a bullet that lodged in her sinus and another that passed through her right shoulder and lung and small intestine and lodged in her torso. Numerous birdshot pellets and their plastic casing were found in her skull.

The release of the autopsy report came three days after a judge ordered the release of search warrants and related documents in the Carson investigation.

According to the warrants, a confidential informant told police that killing suspect Demario Atwater, 22, told her he shot Carson once after co-defendant Laurence Lovette Jr., 17, shot her multiple times.

In search warrants, police said they were seeking a .25-caliber handgun and a shotgun.

The informant also told investigators that Atwater and Lovette entered Carson's home through an unlocked door, forced her into her Toyota Highlander and drove her to an ATM.

Chapel Hill Police Chief Brian Curran could not say why the suspects chose Carson as their victim. He said there was no evidence they were carrying out gang orders.

"I think they were just kind of partners in crime," Curran said.

Police seized about 20 pairs of shoes from the suspects' homes in the days after their arrests. Investigators had found a shoe print on a Bank of America receipt in Carson's Toyota.

"They were trying to see if they could find a shoe that could match that," Curran said.

Both Atwater and Lovette are charged with first-degree murder in Carson's death. Lovette also is charged with the first-degree murder of Abhijit Mahato, a Duke University engineering student from Bengal, India. Mahato was found dead Jan. 18, shot during what Durham police have called a citywide robbery spree.

jesse.deconto@newsobserver.com or (919) 932-8760

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