Charge against man once accused of killing UNC Charlotte student dismissed
Mark Carver spent 10 years in prison.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The murder charge against Mark Carver in the 2008 murder of UNC-Charlotte student Ira Yarmolenko has been dropped.
The decision came Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, almost a year after motions were filed for the court to drop the charges.
“They FaceTimed me from the courthouse when they were having the ankle bracelet removed, so that was great,” said Chris Mumma, Carver’s attorney and the executive director with the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence.
Carver spent nearly 10 years in jail and 3 years after that wearing an ankle monitor.
“We are appreciative of the professionalism shown by District Attorney Page since he took office last year. Justice has finally been served for Mark Carver and Neal Cassada. If all the evidence had been accurately presented to the jury at the time of Mark’s trial, Mark would never have been convicted and Mr. Cassada may not have passed away on the eve of his trial. Both men are innocent—as they have always proclaimed,” she added in a press release.
Carver and his cousin, Neal Cassada, said they were fishing in the Catawba River in Gaston County the day Yarmolenko was killed. Her body was found close to where the men said they were, and investigators at the time said their DNA was on her car—a statement that was called into question years later.
Cassada died before his trial was set to begin.
Carver was released in 2019 after being granted a new trial based on ineffective counsel and new DNA evidence. After that came the fight to get his charge dismissed.
Mumma said the DNA evidence used to convict Carver was discredited when new federal standards for DNA testing were put into place.
“Mark’s case shines a light on the issues associated with the interpretation of DNA mixtures before standards were changed at our state lab and Charlotte-Mecklenburg lab,” said Mumma.
No other suspects in Yarmolenko’s murder have been identified.
“Consistent with our mission and our promise to this community, the Gaston County District Attorney’s Office will continue to seek justice for the Yarmolenko family and all homicide victims as the evidence and rule of law permit,” Gaston County District Attorney Travis Page wrote in a press release.
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