Defense attorneys have requested the dismissal of federal carjacking and kidnapping charges against Demario Atwater.
Atwater’s attorneys have also filed motions asking for the death penalty to be removed from consideration. Atwater is one of two men charged with the 2008 murder of former University of Chapel Hill at North Carolina Student Body President Eve Carson.
In addition, Atwater’s lawyers have requested access to Chapel Hill and Durham police surveillance videos of Atwater and Shanita Love, who is considered a key witness in the case.
The defense is claiming the application of federal charges and the death penalty to 23-year-old Atwater’s case is unconstitutional and racially based, the (Raleigh) News & Observer reported Thursday.
Atwater says he and Love were coerced into making statements in March 2008 through mental and physical threats from police, and he has asked for his statements from that day to be suppressed. If the patrol car and booking room videos are released and show this to be true, all evidence resulting from the interrogations would be thrown out in court.
Federal prosecutors must respond to the motions by March 15. If the federal carjacking and kidnapping charges are dismissed, Atwater will still face a capital murder charge at the state level.