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Jury finds man guilty in killing of UNCC student

A Gaston County jury on Monday found a man guilty of killing a Chapel Hill High School graduate nearly three years ago.

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Irina Yarmolenko
GASTONIA, N.C. — A Gaston County jury has found a man guilty of killing a University of North Carolina-Charlotte student nearly three years ago.

The jury in Gastonia reached its verdict after about two hours of deliberation Monday. The judge then sentenced 42-year-old Mark Carver to life in prison without parole.

Carver and his cousin, Neal Cassada, were accused of strangling 20-year-old Irina Yarmolenko, a graduate of Chapel Hill High School, on the banks of the Catawba River in May 2008.

Cassada died from a heart attack the day before his trial was set to begin last year.

Carver said he was innocent. Forensic experts testified that his DNA was found on Yarmolenko's car but not on the drawstring, bag handle and bungee cord used to strangle her.

Yarmolenko's brother, Pavel, thanked the jury after the verdict was announced.

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