Man convicted of killing UNCC student granted new trial based on weak DNA evidence

Updated: Jun. 5, 2019 at 2:29 PM EDT
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GASTONIA, N.C. (WBTV) - A judge has granted Mark Carver, the man convicted of killing UNC Charlotte student Ira Yarmolenko in 2008, a new trial based on ineffective counsel and new DNA evidence.

Investigators said Carver strangled the 20-year-old to death more than a decade ago. He has spent the last 10 years behind bars.

Mark Carver’s lawyer, Chris Mumma, believes Carver is locked away because his former attorneys did a bad job during the 2011 murder trial, she doubts the DNA evidence and says Carver couldn’t not carry out such crime because his mental and physical abilities are limited.

While the state says all the proof they need is in the DNA and Carver’s former attorneys are some of the most experienced Gaston County has to offer.

Officials have said that in May of 2008 Carver went fishing with his cousin Neal Cassada along the Catawba River. How long they were there has always been in question, but according to police records, the only thing that was certain was they found Carver’s fingerprints on the outside of Yarmolenko’s car.

However, through new testimony from a detective who collected the DNA, he said he never found a match of Carver’s DNA.

Carver has always said that he was an innocent man. The highlight of the hearing was when he took the stand for the first time to sing the same tune. He never had the chance to do so during his original trial because his former attorneys thought it would do more harm than good.

Carver’s new defense team says there was a lot of evidence that went untested and could have cleared his name. Something police officers who were working the case testified to over the last several days as well.

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