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Murder of UNCC student from Chapel Hill revisited with new DNA evidence

Posted April 20
Updated April 21

— A high profile murder case connected to the Triangle is making headlines once again. The man convicted of killing a UNC Charlotte Student from Chapel Hill is hoping to be exonerated.

Investigators are now focused around DNA evidence on the victim's car. Though he was convicted to life in prison for murder, Mark Carver says he is innocent.

"I didn't do it. I didn't go around the car or near the car," Carver said.

He's talking about this car found near the edge of the Catawba River in 2008. It belonged to 20-year old Ira Yarmolenko, who was found strangled to death nearby.

Carver's DNA was found on the victim's car, but not on her body or any murder weapon.

Chris Mumma, an attorney with the North Carolina Center for Actual Innocence, said she thinks Carver's DNA was accidentally transferred to the vehicle by investigators after they interviewed him. She wants that DNA evidence retested.

"I am expecting to see exactly what our experts have seen. They submitted reports as part of our filing that it would never be reported that Mark Carver's DNA was on that car."

In a hearing, a Gaston County Judge agreed to the re-testing. Mumma then asked for DNA from five investigators who worked the crime scene around the car.

It was decided that attorneys could ask investigators to voluntarily give those samples.

Leaving the courthouse, Carver's family members seemed hopeful after the hearing.

"The truth will come out, he will be found innocent."

Mumma hopes to earn a retrial in Carver's case.


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