Judge orders retest of Mark Carver's DNA in death of UNCC student

GASTONIA, N.C. -- A North Carolina judge ordered the electronic data for DNA collected in a high-profile murder of a UNC-Charlotte student be retested during a Thursday afternoon hearing in Gaston County.

Mark Carver was convicted of strangling 20-year-old Ira Yarmolenko to death back in 2008, but he continues to proclaim his innocence.

At Thursday's hearing, Carver's new attorney, Chris Mumma of the North Carolina Center for Actual Innocence, argued the DNA analysis used to convict Carver was flawed because it wasn't tested to appropriate scientific standards.

Carver's DNA was found on Ira Yarmolenko's car, but it wasn't found on her body nor the murder weapons.

Mumma believed investigators accidentally transferred Carver's DNA onto the car after interviewing him, and she said the retesting should prove it.

"[If properly tested], it would never have been reported that Mark Carver's DNA was on that car," Mumma said.

The judge agreed to Mumma's request.

She then asked the judge to have DNA swabs taken from the five investigators who processed Yarmolenko's car.

Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell argued against the action, saying Mumma hadn't provided evidence proving her claims.

He also questioned whether a judge could approve such an order.

"I don't think you have the authority to order someone to submit to have their DNA taken and tested without their having the opportunity to be heard," Bell said to the judge.

All sides eventually agreed to have attorneys ask the officers to voluntarily give DNA samples.

Outside the courtroom, Mumma mentioned she recently spoke to Carver.

"He's doing fine," Mumma said. "As well as anybody can do while they're locked up in prison for something they didn't do."

Bell didn't return NBC Charlotte's message asking for a comment after the hearing.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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