GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — A court of appeals judge has dismissed the state’s challenge to Mark Carver’s new trial in the murder of a University of North Carolina Charlotte student.
According to documents, the judge dismissed the state’s appeal challenging the order that granted Carver a new trial based on ineffective counsel. The documents showed the remaining portion of the appeal, a new trial based on newly discovered evidence, was dismissed as “moot.”
>> Click here to read Court of Appeals the State of North Carolina vs. Mark Carver
The court documents said Carver will receive a new trial.
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.
Carver and his cousin, Neal Cassada, were fishing near an area where UNC Charlotte student Ira Yarmolenko’s body was found on the banks of the Catawba River in 2008.
Investigators said she was strangled and her body was found next to her car. Both men were charged with murder. Cassada died the day before his trial.
The judge reviewing the case said Carver’s trial attorney didn’t consider Carver’s low IQ and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carver was released from prison after nearly a decade in June 2019. He is required to wear an ankle monitor while out on bond.
The district attorney had said Carver is the prosecution’s only living suspect and if he lost the appeal to have Carver’s conviction upheld, he said he will retry the case.
Carver’s new attorney Chris Mumma with the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence said they plan to continue to fight to prove Carver’s innocence and believes the focus needs to shift to new suspects in the case.
“He needs to be proven innocent, and we’re going to fight it all the way up to the governor’s office to make sure he’s proven innocent,” Mumma said. “And again, the attention needs to get away from Mark and onto, who is the real murderer in this case?”
When Channel 9 asked Carver about a new trial and the future fight in court, Carver said, “Just take it one step at a time. That’s all I can do. One day at a time.”