Laurence Alvin Lovette, one of two people convicted of killing UNC-Chapel Hill student body president Eve Carson in 2008, was too young at the time of his crimes to get a sentence of life without parole, the state Court of Appeals has ruled.
The court sent Lovette’s case back to Orange County Superior Court for resentencing for the murder conviction.
Lovette was 16 in March 2008, when prosecutors contend he and DeMario Atwater kidnapped Carson from her home early in the morning, forced her into the backseat of her SUV, drove her to ATM machines and withdrew money from her account, then shot her five times in a wooded neighborhood about a mile from campus.
A jury convicted Lovette in December 2011 of first-degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon and first-degree kidnapping.
Judge Allen Baddour sentenced him to life in prison without possibility of parole, and consecutive terms of at least 14 more years for kidnapping and robbery.
Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling that laws requiring youths convicted of murder to be sentenced to die in prison violated the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
That case, filed by Evan Miller against the state of Alabama, offered hope to some 2,000 juvenile offenders nationwide serving life sentences without possibility for parole.
Lovette challenged his sentence as too harsh, and the state Court of Appeals agreed. The ruling was released Tuesday.
It was unclear Tuesday morning when the case will go back to Orange County Superior Court for resentencing on the murder conviction.