Judge allows new DNA testing in murder of NC college student


GASTONIA, N.C. (WBTV) — Attorneys for convicted murderer Mark Carver got some good news from a judge in Gaston County Thursday after he ordered new DNA testing in the case.

Carver, convicted in the death of UNC Charlotte student Ira Yarmolenko, who was from Orange County, did not appear in court.

Judge David Lee requested five law enforcement officers who were involved in the case be contacted and asked to give DNA samples. Carver’s defense team has argued that several investigators may have contaminated the crime scene.

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“We believe that all the evidence used against Mr. Carver has been discredited,” said Chris Mumma, Executive Director of North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence. “I would like to see those officers voluntarily give their DNA because there is no harm in giving it.”

Judge Lee did not order the DNA be taken from the officers but did state that if the officers did not want to give the samples, additional hearings may be required.

Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell argues that several of the law enforcement officials brought up in court had no connection or contact with Carver. Therefore, he said that contamination would be nearly impossible.

“There has to be some sort of connection, or it just keeps going and going,” said Bell in court. “If that is not the case, what we would have to do is go back to where Carver had breakfast and take the DNA of the waitress.”

The judge also ordered that the state must re-test the electronic DNA evidence used in the trial under the current protocol. Mumma says that protocol was available during the trial.

“I am expecting to see exactly what our experts have seen. They have submitted reports that say it never would have been reported that Mark Carver’s DNA was on that car,” said Mumma.

Bell argued that the test that was done was accurate.

“The new way of doing it does not say the old way was wrong,” said Bell.

Both attorneys promised to share their complete files in the case before any hearing concerning a new trial.

“He is innocent. We know that he is innocent. Everyone that knows him knows Mark is a great guy,” said one of Carver’s family members. “The truth will come out, he will be found innocent.”

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