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Motion filed to dismiss charges against man in UNCC student’s 2008 murder

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — Mark Carver’s attorney filed a motion Tuesday to dismiss the charges against him for the 2008 murder of a University of North Carolina Charlotte student.

Carver and his cousin, Neal Cassada, were fishing near where UNC Charlotte student Irina “Ira” Yarmolenko’s body was found on the banks of the Catawba River in 2008.

Investigators said Yarmolenko had been strangled and her body was found next to her car. Both Carver and Cassada were arrested and charged with murder. Cassada died the day before his trial.

Carver was convicted of first-degree murder in 2011.

In June 2019, a judge ordered a new trial in the case, citing several significant mistakes made by Carver’s original attorney during his trial, including critical evidence that was never shown to the jury. The judge ruled that DNA evidence used in his trial wouldn’t be admissible by current standards.

The judge also said Carver’s trial attorney didn’t consider his low IQ and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carver was released from prison after nearly a decade in June 2019 and was required to wear an ankle monitor while out on bond. An appeals court ruled against a move to have him sent back to prison last April.

On Tuesday, Carver’s attorney also requested to have his ankle monitor removed, saying he can’t visit family out of state.

“We believe all of the evidence was completely discredited, all of the evidence that used against him at trial and there is really nothing left,” said Carver’s attorney. “The tunnel vision needs to stop and they need to start finding the true perpetrator of this crime.”

The district attorney said he is reviewing the motions filed Tuesday and at this point is still planning to re-try Carver for murder.

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