GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – All charges against a man accused of killing a UNC Charlotte student in 2008 have been dropped, according to Gaston County District Attorney Travis Page.
The 14-year-old case centers around Ira Yarmolenko, who was murdered along the banks of the Catawba River in Mount Holly.
Two men, Mark Carver and Neil Cassada, were charged with first-degree murder seven months after her death.
Cassada died in 2010, the day before his trial began.
Carver was tried before a Gaston County jury and convicted of first-degree murder.
The N.C. Supreme Court upheld that conviction, but it was set aside in June 2019. That was an order issued by a superior court judge.
That judge found Carver’s former attorney did not correctly investigate touch DNA. Carver spent nearly a decade behind bars before being released on bond in 2019.
Page took office two years later and began looking into the case. After re-testing evidence, state crime lab workers determined evidence that originally connected Cassada and Carver to the victim’s vehicle no longer contained enough DNA for examination.
The District Attorney’s Office determined the evidence no longer supports a first-degree murder charge against Carver or Cassada.
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