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Decisions Made By Mark Carver's Former Defense Questioned

NC Courts
Gaston County courthouse

Mark Carver, a Gaston County man currently serving a life sentence for the murder of a UNC Charlotte student, is expected to take the stand after his former attorney finishes testifying, which could be today. This current hearing will determine whether Carver’s conviction will stand.

Carver was convicted for the 2008 murder of Ira Yarmolenko whose body was found on the banks of the Catawba River.

During Mark Carver’s trial in 2011, the defense called no witnesses and did not present any evidence. Now into the second week of a new hearing for Carver, his current defense attorney Chris Mumma is presenting evidence and testimony that she hopes will convince presiding judge Christopher Bragg that Carver’s conviction should be overturned.

So far members of Carver’s family have testified as well as DNA experts who have questioned the validity of the touch DNA evidence used to convict Carver.

Mumma has argued that Carver had insufficient legal representation eight years ago. So on Tuesday both of Carver’s former attorneys took the stand.

The first was David Phillips—now a superior court judge. He said Carver would have been quote “crucified” if he took the stand during his original trial. Mumma asked Judge Phillips if Carver ever admitted to touching Ira Yarmolenko’s car or body to which Judge Phillips replied “no.”

Carver’s other former attorney Brent Ratchford said he believed to this day that Mark Carver was innocent but stood behind decisions  the defense counsel made in 2011 which included not to admit an interrogation video of Carver into evidence. Mumma asked Ratchford if he ever tried to obtain Carver’s medical records to which he answered no.

Mumma told reporters Carver says he wanted to testify in 2011 but was advised by his then defense team that he should not.

"Our plan is to put Mark on after Mr. Ratchford," Mumma said. 

Today the court may finally get to hear what Carver has to say, eight years later.