Local News

Trial begins in Chapel Hill student's slaying

Posted March 14, 2011

— Jury selection in the trial of a man accused in the death of a University of North Carolina at Charlotte student was scheduled to begin Monday in Gaston County.

Irina Yarmolenko's body was discovered May 2008 along the banks of the Catawba River near Mount Holly not far from where her car was found.

A coroner determined that Yarmolenko, 20, a graduate of Chapel Hill High School, died of asphyxiation. A bungee cord and a ribbon were found tied around her neck.

Two cousins from Gaston County were arrested in December 2008 and charged with Yarmolenko's homicide.

One of the suspects, Neal Cassada, died of natural causes a day before his trial was scheduled to begin last year.

Co-defendant Mark Carver was to go on trial Monday in Gaston County Superior Court.

Cassada and Carver have maintained their innocence. They said they were in the area fishing and that they never committed the homicide.

Cassada's family has told investigators he simply didn't have it in him to commit the murder. They also blame the stress of the charges and court case for his sudden death.

Cassada's defense attorney had said DNA evidence was found in Yarmolenko's car, but none was found on the murder weapon.


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  • dontgetmestarted Mar 15, 2011

    LOL! I agree buford. Amazing. Brad Cooper is guilty as sin.

  • buford Mar 15, 2011

    @ wildcat I pray the courts will give this man life in prison without ever seeing parole.

    Wow, so he is definitely guilty in your mind already but brad cooper is innocent...interesting

  • dontgetmestarted Mar 15, 2011

    O.K....so...his DNA was in the car why?! Did they report the crime when they were rummaging through her car since they are so innocent? Please.

    Hater...just on a side note...I'm impressed you actually WENT to college.

  • wildcat Mar 15, 2011

    All involved should be sent to prison once the evidence etc. is proven.

  • wildcat Mar 15, 2011

    I pray the courts will give this man life in prison without ever seeing parole.

  • cariannestanley Mar 15, 2011

    For whatever reason, I never heard of this case.

  • Hater like Darth Vader Mar 15, 2011

    Well then sarabear, would it not make sense to write "former Chapel Hill student"?

  • Hatchcover Mar 15, 2011

    Over 50% of news reported on TV news channels are full of errors: Names, dates, locations, etc. - but you heard it here first!

  • sarabear Mar 15, 2011

    "So Irina Yarmolenko was a Chapel Hill student now huh?"

    If you read the story again it says she graduated from Chapel Hill HIGH SCHOOL, not UNC Chapel Hill.

  • Hater like Darth Vader Mar 15, 2011

    You have to love the attention to detail. So Irina Yarmolenko was a Chapel Hill student now huh? That's funny how when I was at UNC Charlotte, I could have sworn she was enrolled there.