Courts & Crime

Killer of UNC Chapel Hill student president gets life in prison

WINSTON-SALEM — Demario Atwater will spend the rest of his life in federal prison for killing UNC-Chapel Hill Student Body President Eve Carson in 2008.

Atwater, of Durham, received a life sentence on a charge of kidnapping resulting in death and a 10-year sentence on a separate charge of discharging a weapon resulting in death, plus another life sentence and two additional 10-year sentences to run concurrently on federal carjacking and weapons charges.

Federal District Court Judge James Beatty also imposed restitution of more than $212,000 to be paid monthly if Atwater ever gets out of prison. Beatty noted that statutes required him to set a payment schedule.

"It's not likely the defendant under any circumstance will be on supervised release," he said.

Carson's parents sat quietly in the front row listening to the 30-minute long hearing Thursday morning in Winston-Salem. They declined to speak to the court on Atwater's sentencing.

Atwater did speak, looking directly at the Carsons and apologizing.

"I'm sorry for for everything that's happened," he said. "No matter what the court did today it would be far from anything I should receive."

Atwater and his attorneys said they had prepared a statement on Atwater's life of hardship to persuade the judge to implement the least possible sentence but they decided not to present it.

"It wouldn't be nothing but a waste of time," Atwater said.

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