GREENSBORO — Demario Atwater, one of two suspects charged with murdering Eve Carson, shot the UNC-Chapel Hill student body with a shotgun after she had already been hit by four small-caliber bullets, federal prosecutors revealed in court documents filed late Friday.
The details are included in the federal prosecutors’ notice of their plans to seek the death penalty in their federal carjacking and kidnnapping case against the 22-year-old suspect.
Atwater also has been charged with first-degree murder in state courts, and Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall is likewise seeking the death penalty in that case.
Laurence Alvin Lovette, 18, also is charged with first-degree murder in the case. He does not face the death penalty because he was 17, a juvenile, last March when Carson was found shot to death in Chapel Hill about a mile from the UNC campus.
In their document Friday, prosecutors accused Atwater of enlisting the aid of a juvenile in committing the crimes they have charged, but Lovette was not named.
Federal prosecutors brought charges against Atwater in October, nearly six months after the state charges.
They have have accused him of carjacking, weapons and kidnapping charges that could bring the death penalty if done in the commission of a homicide.
In mid-January, several days before the transfer of presidential power, Michael B. Mukasey, the outgoing U.S. attorney general, issued his decision to seek the death penalty in the federal charges against Atwater.
Late last month, a federal grand jury indicted Atwater on the federal kidnapping charge, claiming he used automated teller machines, telephones and interstate and public roads in the commission of the offense.
The grand jury’s revised indictment, entered in court Jan. 30, also lists some of the aggravating factors that prosecutors plan to use in their push for the death penalty. The homicide was committed in such an “especially heinous, cruel and depraved manner” that it “involved torture and serious physical abuse to the victim.,” the indictment says.
The document filed Friday mentions the torture, but does not elaborate.
Investigators have said that Atwater and Lovette kidnapped Carson early in the morning of March 5 and forced her to withdraw $1,400 from automated teller machines before they shot her with a .25-caliber handgun and a sawed-off shotgun.
Atwater is in federal custody, but no decision has been made on whether the state or federal case would be tried first.