Death penalty sought for black accused of murdering white co-ed
[DA Jim] Woodall said Monday that Atwater and [his accomplice] Lovette were on foot on Rosemary Street in Chapel Hill, looking to rob people when they walked down Carson’s dead-end street, Friendly Lane, and saw her through two windows.As the News & Observer points out, going for the death penalty is a tough decison for a DA, since it makes for a much longer and more expensive trial, and with a more doubtful outcome. The Kafkaesque procedural obstacles this country places in the path of capital punishment make it virtually the same as not having the death penalty at all. Indeed, we can fairly say that in America the death penalty is an unprincipled exception to the prevailing liberalism. Normally, the death penalty is not sought, even for very horrible murders. But, if a particular murder strikes people as having gone “too far,” if it somehow bothers people in some indefinable way that they feel in their gut but can’t define, and if there’s a consensus in the community for it, then, again, not based on any moral or legal principle, but on feeling, the DA will seek the death penalty.
As an index of how rare it is,
Orange County has not sent anyone to death row since 1970; no offender from Orange County has been executed since 1948.The Wikipedia article on the murder of Eve Marie Carson has a photo of her.