RALEIGH, N.C. — The N.C. Court of Appeals has ruled that a man sentenced to life in prison for the murder of UNC Student Body President Eve Carson must be resentenced.
WTVD reported that Laurence Lovette must be resentenced because judge was not allowed to consider mitigating factors before imposing a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.
A jury found Laurence Lovette Jr. guilty in December 2011 of first-degree murder in the March 2008 slaying of 22-year-old Carson. He was also convicted of first-degree kidnapping and robbery.
But in its ruling, the Court of Appeals said a change in the law must be retroactively applied to Lovette’s case.
Since Lovette’s conviction, the U.S Supreme court has ruled that a mandatory sentence of life without the possibility of parole for a defendant who was under the age of 18 when he committed his crime constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
The North Carolina General Assembly changed the law to allow judges to consider mitigating circumstances to comply with the high court ruling.
Lovette was not eligible for the death penalty because he was a minor when the crime was committed.
Prosecutors said Lovette, who was 17 at the time of the crime, had driven in his mother’s car to nearby Chapel Hill with, Demario Atwater, to go find someone to rob.
The pair happened upon Carson and shot her five times for her ATM card and because she had seen their faces, prosecutors said. Her body was left in the street.
Carson was described as a busy Morehead scholar and much-liked student leader from Athens, Ga. Friends said she regularly stayed up all night do her school work.