Prosecutor to Release Carson Autopsy; ‘News & Observer’ Drops Case

By: E&P Staff

The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., today withdrew its motion to unseal the autopsy of murdered University of North Carolina student Eve Carson after prosecutors agreed to release the documents at the end of this month.

“We see no reason to take up the court’s time and energy with an issue that will apparently become moot in a few days,” News & Observer attorney Hugh Stevens stated in a letter to Judge Allen Baddour. “Therefore, we respectfully ask that the intervention motions be withdrawn from today’s calendar, without prejudice to their being renewed in the event of a further motion to seal evidence or records in either case.”

Baddour had been scheduled Wednesday to consider the News & Observer’s motion to unseal the medical examiner’s report of an autopsy on Carson. Last month, the judge had ordered the autopsy report sealed, pending a review to determine whether releasing the report would compromise the ongoing investigation into Carson’s death.

The prosecutors in the the case had argued that the autopsy should remain sealed “until all interviews of all possible witnesses have been completed,” according to the motion filed by District Attorney Jim Woodall. The News & Observer had countered that it had filed the motion solely to “[protect its] rights and the rights of the public to observe and report on this criminal proceeding.”

Carson, a student at the University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill, was found dead in the early hours of March 5. Police, who had responded to reports of gunshots, discovered her body in a wooded area near the campus. She had been shot several times, including at least once in the head. The autopsy report, in addition to naming the cause of Carson’s death, would reveal how many times she was shot, as well as the type of weapon used.

Last month, the judge upheld the sealing of search warrants related to the case, denying a motion from the Durham Herald-Sun to unseal them.

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