HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. — DNA from Eve Carson's Toyota Highlander was an identical match to that of the man on trial in her death nearly three years ago, an analyst for the State Bureau of Investigation testified Wednesday.
"It is scientifically unreasonable to believe that anyone other than Laurence Lovette Jr. was the donor of the dominant profile on the interior driver-side panel of the Highlander," Ivy McMillan said during the sixth day of testimony in Lovette's first-degree murder trial.
Authorities say Lovette and another man, Demario Atwater, kidnapped the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student body president from her home in the early hours of March 5, 2008, took her in her SUV to Bank of America ATMs to withdraw money and then shot her to death in a neighborhood near campus.
The DNA evidence, however, is the only forensic evidence connecting him to Carson at the time. SBI analysts testified Tuesday that they found no traces of fingerprints, hairs or fiber that linked Lovette to the crime.
Orange County prosecutors say other evidence does, such as ATM surveillance images, a .25-caliber handgun and Lovette's own statements to witnesses.
Agent Scott Jones, a forensics firearms examiner for the State Bureau of Investigation testified that pieces of the pistol that investigators recovered in some Durham woods matched spent casings from the scene of Carson's death. Two bullets recovered from her body also matched the weapon, Jones said.
Testifying Tuesday, Lovette's childhood friend, Jayson McNeil, told jurors that Lovette admitted that he and Demario Atwater went to Chapel Hill looking for someone to rob and ambushed Carson as she was walking from her house to her SUV.
"He said the whole time that Eve Carson was in the back seat that she was pleading for her life and explained that they didn't have to do what they were doing," McNeil said.
Lovette and Atwater then shot her several times with a .25-caliber pistol and a 14-gauge shotgun, McNeil said, because she had seen their faces.
"Before (Lovette) even shot her, he explained, she was saying, 'Let's pray,'" McNeil said. "She wanted them to pray together."