Judge OKs DNA Testing of Officers in Murder Case

GASTONIA, N.C. – Good news for Mark Carver’s attorney Chris Mumma Thursday in a Gaston County courtroom. A judge said yes to her request, to ask five law enforcement officers to submit their DNA for testing. Just request right now, and if they object, more hearings could come.

Mumma contends that the officers may have tainted the crime scene. She wants to make sure they didn’t inadvertently transfer Carver’s DNA to the car where 20-year-old Ira Yarmolenko was found strangled next to in May 2008.

“I would like to see the officer’s want to voluntarily give the DNA because there’s no harm in giving it,” Mumma. Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell signaled he believes the potential physical connections between the officers and the crime scene are dubious, but agreed to contact them and request their samples. He declined to speak to reporters.

And two more wins for Mumma: the judge agreed that all investigative files must be shared and he ordered the state to re-test electronic DNA evidence under new guidelines that are now in place.

Outside the courtroom, reporters asked Mumma how Carver is doing. She replied, “He’s doing fine. As well as anybody can do when they’re locked up in prison for something they didn’t do.”

And a family member of Carver’s said this to the cameras, as elevator doors closed: “He’s innocent. We know. Everybody that know’s him knows. Mark’s a good guy. (inaudible) The truth will come out.”

Carver is currently serving a sentence of life behind bars with no parole. Carver’s cousin, Neal Cassada, was also charged in the murder. He died from a heart attack the day before his trial.