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Jury begins deliberations in Laurence Lovette murder trial

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TWC News: Jury begins deliberations in Laurence Lovette murder trial
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ORANGE COUNTY, N.C. — After closing arguments wrapped up Monday morning, a jury has begun deliberations in the Laurence Lovette murder trial.

Authorities say Laurence Lovette and his partner Demario Atwater kidnapped UNC student body president Eve Carson forced her into her SUV, stole money from her ATM and shot and killed her.

More than three years after her death, a jury will now decide if Laurence Lovette should be held responsible. The jury began deliberating Monday afternoon. During closing arguments earlier today, prosecutors told the jury all the evidence confirms Lovette should be convicted of murder.

The defense maintains Lovette was framed and there was another person involved in the crime with Demario Atwater, who already pleaded guilty to Carson's murder.

The state contends there is enough evidence to convict Lovette. Several people recognized the wanted photo of Lovette at the ATM and his cell phone can be traced to Carson's Chapel Hill neighborhood shortly before the crime occurred.

Prosecutors say two of Lovette's friends testified he confessed to the crime and one led police to one of the murder weapons. While Atwater was the one who delivered the fatal blow that killed Carson, prosecutors say state law holds both people involved in a crime responsible for one another's actions.

The defense questioned the motives of Lovette's friends who took the stand and told the jury to consider why Atwater was not called to testify. They said it confirms whether Lovette was involved in the crime.

The defense claims Lovette was not at the scene of the crime when Atwater shot and killed Carson and said the defendant's skin is darker than the suspect in question.

"Then decide whether that gentleman over there is the light skinned, African-American male that shows us in the surveillance video," said defense attorney Kevin Bradley.

In turn, the state reminded the jury of the DNA evidence.

"The defendant's DNA was present in that car at that crime scene. I think when you look at all the evidence in this case, you will return verdicts of guilty," said Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall.

Along with first-degree murder, the jury must also determine whether Lovette is guilty of kidnapping, armed robbery, larceny and possession of stolen goods.

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