HILLSBOROUGH — A friend of Laurence Alvin Lovette described for jurors this afternoon several hours he spent with the defendant on the day police made public a warrant for his arrest.
Lovette, 21, is on trial in Orange County Superior Court, accused of murdering Eve Carson.
Jayson McNeil, 20, of Durham, told jurors today that Lovette called him on March 12, the day a warrant was issued for his arrest.
"They got Rio, they got Rio," McNeil recalled Lovette saying excitedly.
McNeil, a crack-dealer at the time known for having quick access to cars, picked Lovette up that afternoon and gave the teen he knew from the neighborhood and school a ride around Durham.
Lovette was worried, McNeil said, that "Rio," or DeMario Atwater would tell police about him.
Atwater, 25, pleaded guilty last year to carjacking, kidnapping, robbing and murdering Carson.
Prosecutors contend Lovette was his accomplice.
McNeil, who currently is in federal custody serving time on drug charges, said he contacted prosecutors recently to divulge what Lovette told him that afternoon in exchange for getting a lighter sentence.
McNeil then recounted several calls from Lovette and several encounters with him shortly before and after Carson's death.
Lovette told McNeil that he and Atwater rushed Carson on March 5, as she was going toward her Toyota Highlander.
Atwater, according to McNeil's account, forced her into the back seat and Lovette took the steering wheel.
"DeMario was in the back touching parts of her body," McNeil said.
As Lovette drove them around, McNeil said, Carson pleaded and begged for her life.
Lovette, McNeil said, "explained to me how he murdered her. He explained to me that he shot her five times and that she was still alive, that she took the bullets, that she was still talking."
Atwater, according to McNeil's account, then stood over Carson with a shotgun and shot her.
McNeil's account capped a day of testimony that included the medical examiner who performed the autopsy of Carson.
Jurors dabbed at their eyes with tissue this afternoon as a medical examiner showed them photographs of the gunshot wounds she found on Eve Carson.
The graphic photos were presented on the fifth day of testimony in the trial of Laurence Alvin Lovette, the 21-year-old Durham man accused of murdering the 2008 UNC-Chapel Hill student body president.
Carson, 22 years old when police found her twisted body on a quiet Chapel Hill street, was shot four times by a handgun before a shotgun blast to the temple immediately killed her.
Dr. Cynthia Gardner, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Carson in March 2008, said the UNC-CH student leader would have been able to move and talk for minutes, "tens of minutes," after the first four shots had the shotgun not been blasted.
Prosecutors contend Lovette fired the .32-caliber handgun that made the four wounds to Carson's cheek, shoulder, arm and buttocks.
DeMario Atwater, a 25-year-old Durham man who pleaded guilty last year to kidnapping, carjacking, robbing and murdering Carson, fired the sawed-off shotgun, prosecutors contend.
Prosecutors contend Carson held her right hand to her temple to protect herself from the shotgun blast. Gardner testified that both weapons were fired at least two feet away from Carson.
Lovette has pleaded not guilty. They argue that key witnesses for the prosecution had "bias" and "motive" to implicate Lovette.
Atwater's girlfriend testified earlier this week that she heard her boyfriend and Lovette talk about shooting Carson. She testified that Lovette mentioned hitting Carson several times and that she kept talking.
Gardner testified the cause of death for Carson was multiple gunshot wounds.
She said she could tell Carson was alive after the handgun wounds because there was blood in her lungs. That blood would have come from the wound to her cheek and her shoulder.
The shotgun blast would have been immediately fatal, Gardner testified, because of the damage to Carson's brain.