'Twas the week before Christmas when I got the news that Lovette had been sentenced to life w/o parole. Somehow the news seemed to brighten my holiday. It's kind of strange that putting someone away can make someone happy, but sometimes it does.
When it comes to prosecuting dangerous offenders, there are three things that piss me off more than anything else.
ONE - The totally outrageous excuses the defense comes up with, that a self-respecting individual would never think to use for himself.
"He wasn't raised properly, badly toilet trained, didn't get enough chicken soup, etc. This is the one we should feel sorry for, not the victim."
TWO - The equally outrageous attitude that says the "rights" of such offenders are more important than the lives of our children.
"Yes it's too bad your daughter was so brutally murdered, but the important thing now is to make sure the killer gets another chance in life."
THREE - Blaming the victim.
"She shouldn't have gone out dressed like that."
During the trial of Eve Carson's killers, I didn't see much of that.
Not that I'm complaining, but I wonder why.
Perhaps because unlike so many other murders that have hit the news, the victim was a person already known in Chapel Hill before she was murdered.
And no one dared try to suggest she might have been at fault.
It seems if you know anything at all about Eve Carson, it would be very difficult to find something negative to say about her. You will find proof of this in how well she is being remembered.
When Atwater was at trial, he pleaded guilty. This may have been the first smart thing he had ever done. The most surprising thing to me about it was that he had shut up his lawyer who was trying to gain sympathy with a sob-story of his life. Even the defendant was tired of hearing it, it seems, and he wanted to get it over with. "I'm guilty, dammit!"
But when Lovette went to trial, he pleaded not guilty. That didn't work for him.
This was one murder I have taken very personally. Although I now live in Chatham County, I still consider myself a Chapel Hillian, having lived in this town longer than anywhere else. Eve Carson was "one of us."
Some fiends came into our town and killed one of our people. They must die.
My feet have tread on the pavement where Eve's body was found. I know that neighborhood very well. This was too close to home for me not to take it personally.
Whenever I'm in Chapel Hill, I always like to walk across the UNC campus. The Student Union is a fun place to hang out. You can pick up a copy of the Daily Tar-Heel there, and read posters about upcoming events. I couldn't swear to it, but I think I once saw Eve there. Didn't she have an office in that building? Eve was the kind of person who tends to get noticed.
I recall someone saying how unfair it is that the pretty missing and murdered persons get so much more attention, when it's just as tragic when it happens to someone not so attractive. I agree, this is true, but to that let me say that every cause has their poster children.
Oh, and there's one more thing to consider.
Eve Carson was also beautiful on the inside.
I don't think it's very likely I'll ever find anyone who will disagree with me on that.
I was walking across the campus the day after her murdered body had been identified. I saw a lot of people crying. I saw grown men with quivering lips and tearful eyes.
I felt an impact I will never forget.
Now there's a memorial garden to Eve on the campus. It's between the Student Union and the Campus "Y." I like to go there. It feels good to know Eve Carson will be remembered.
It's hard to think about this when reading about the trial of her killers, but then again, it's hard not to. (Does that make sense?) It seems to me that people who used to be opposed to the death penalty were now for it. Some thought that maybe just this once we should bring back public hanging. Speaking of poster children, Atwater and Lovette were said to be the perfect pair to campaign for this cause.
Sentencing Lovette will not bring Eve Carson back to us, nor will it un-do any of the pain we had to bear, but it was the best thing we could hope for.
Do I dare believe that our society has evolved to the level where we finally have a reasonable sense of priorities when trying a killer? No one pleaded this time for a second chance, as we all know how many chances have been used up. They should have already been in jail on the night of the murder. It was this very case that prompted our state governor to write the Probation Reform Bill. This much needed improvement came at the cost of a promising young life.
Is there anyone who knew Eve who did not love her?
I don't think so.