Mark Carver’s former attorneys explain why he never took the stand in 2011 murder trial

Defense fights to prove Mark Carver innocent

GASTONIA, NC (WBTV) - We’re finally learning why a Gaston County man never took the stand in his 2011 murder trial. Mark Carver who is serving a life sentence for killing UNC Charlotte student, Ira Yarmolenko, has done several jail house interviews, but never had the chance to speak in court.

Carver’s attorneys are fighting for his freedom by working to persuade a judge to either drop the charges or rule for another trial.

One of his lawyers at the time told the court today he did not want Carver on the witness stand because he believed the state was going to quote “crucify” him.

The attorneys who represented Mark Carver in his 2011 trial are being called to testify in his current day hearing because Chris Mumma, who now representing Carver, says he did not have effective lawyers back then.

“Why in the world would this man kill, Mark Carver, kill Ira Yarmolenko?” Phillips asked the court in 2011.

Phillips was one of Carver’s former attorneys. Brent Ratchford was the other. Phillips testified Tuesday that the state did not have enough evidence to be able to put Carver away. But Carver’s new legal team says Phillips should have played the interrogation video which shows Carver denying his involvement in Yarmolenko’s murder over 80 times.

Phillips says he didn’t think it was a good idea because it would be self-incriminating for Carver. There’s a clip of Carver telling a detective that he would choke someone to death. This was a few months after Yarmolenko died by strangulation.

Carver’s former attorneys also say they never wanted Carver to take the stand because they feared the state would bring up his violent past. The 51-year-old was once arrested for shooting his son. It’s a situation his family said was an accident.

The defense has one more person they need to call up in the hearing and that will be Mark Carver.

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