Man Convicted of Killing UNC Charlotte Student Bonds Out of Jail Ahead of New Trial
GASTONIA, N.C. – A moment nearly a decade in the making for Mark Carver. Carver, convicted in the 2008 strangling death of UNC Charlotte student Ira Yarmolenko on the banks of the Catawba River, now out of jail, now getting another chance to prove his innocence. He says, “I know I didn’t do nothing. I’m innocent.”
A donor paid Carver’s $100,000 bond. He won’t be on house arrest, but he does have to wear an ankle monitor. Carver says his time locked up has been hard and rough. His first stop as a free man:”Go see my grandbaby.”
Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell wasn’t on-hand Tuesday, but said last week he will appeal the ruling to re-try Carver. “I saw him rush out of the courtroom, he couldn’t wait to get in front of the cameras to say he was gonna appeal the ruling,” says Chris Mumma. She is Carver’s new attorney. She says her client’s low IQ and physical limitations were never mentioned in the first trial, and more: “It was just one problem with the evidence after the other, and it didn’t stop with the DNA,” she says.
She is already anticipating a battle over DNA testing, predicting the state will argue there is nothing left to test. Mumma says, “There are private labs that can test it to show that Mark’s DNA was never there.”
Mumma says in cases like these, justice is a battle. As she prepares to fight, and as Mark Carver into drives away from the jail, there is another family that is still in pain. Mumma says, “The attention needs to get away from Mark, and on to who’s the real murderer in this case.”
A new trial date has not been set. Investigators said DNA linked Carver and his cousin Neil Cassada to Yarmolenko’s car. Cassada died of a heart attack in 2010, the day before his trial was set to begin.