Daughters of man convicted for killing UNC Charlotte student say father is innocent

Updated: Apr. 3, 2019 at 6:23 PM EDT
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GASTONIA, NC (WBTV) - Family members of a man that’s been convicted of killing a UNC Charlotte student in 2008 took the stand in a hearing Wednesday to hopefully get a new trial for Mark Carver.

Carver is serving a life sentence for killing Ira Yarmolenko.

The DA and Gaston County officials said Carver and his cousin, Neal Cassada strangled the 20-year-old woman to death along the banks of the Catawba River.

Carver’s lawyer, Chris Mumma, tried to prove her client was not physically able to carry out the killing of 20-year-old through witness testimony. Witnesses took the stand on Wednesday to say that Carver had carpal tunnel and struggled to do simple errands around the house.

When it comes to carrying groceries, sweeping around the house or even tying his shoes, one of his daughters said that Mark Carver simply could not do those things.

To put this into perspective, Gaston County officials have said they believe Carver strangled Yarmolenko on the Catawba River so his defense team has been trying to prove through witness testimony that Carver didn’t do this because it was impossible.

Carver spent a lot of his days on the river fishing. Through cross-examination by Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell, he said Carver’s physical abilities weren’t that limited because he could pose for pictures holding 25 lbs. fish, use a gun and crossbow arrow for hunting, as well as climb a ladder to get on a tree stand which is also used for hunting.

His daughters, brothers and sister-in-law sat on the stand and explained in court that Carver wasn’t helpless, but he had to take his time to do anything where he had to use his fingers and arms due to his carpal tunnel.

It didn’t seem like the district attorney was buying that because Bell argued that Carver could do a lot for himself which included reeling in fish and loading guns all by himself.

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