Mark Carver will testify for the first time starting Thursday morning

Mark Carver prepares to take the stand

GASTONIA, NC (WBTV) - For the first time, a Gaston County man, serving a life sentence for the 2008 murder of a UNC Charlotte student, will get a chance to speak in court to try and clear his name.

Mark Carver was convicted of killing Ira Yarmolenko after she was found strangled to death along the Catawba river.

For more than a week now, Carver’s defense team has fought to either have the charges against him dropped or get a new trial.

Chris Mumma who is Mark Carver’s attorney, says this is the moment they’ve been waiting for. Not just her, but Carver and his family.

Carver did not speak in his 2011 trial because his attorneys at the time thought it would self-incriminate him. Carver has a violent past and they thought the state would bring that up in court.

However, Mumma says Carver has always wanted to speak and now he’s getting a chance to do so as he is the last witness for the defense. Mumma told reporters right before court sessions today that Carver has nothing to hide and his testimony could help the judge see that charges need to be dropped or that he deserves a brand-new trial.

“I hope there’s justice in this moment. I’ve done enough cases where someone is innocent where there hasn’t been justice. So I hope it’s served this time,” said Mumma.

Mumma says the only concerns she has about Carver taking the stand is if the DA will be rude or rough to Carver during cross-examination. Carver will be on the witness stand to start sessions on Thursday morning.

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