GIST: "The North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence, located in Durham, hopes to prove Carver innocent of the killing and get his 2011 conviction overturned. Chris Mumma, executive director and lawyer with the organization, is representing Carver alongside Cheryl Sullivan, a staff attorney. The case has received national media attention and groups on Facebook and Twitter have been pleading Carver’s case for years. Center to the controversy is the issue of touch DNA, which was a major part of the prosecution’s case against Carver. If someone touches an object, bits of their DNA remain behind, and this touch DNA of Carver’s was found on Yarmolenko’s car. However, many have argued that police touched Yarmolenko’s car after shaking hands or touching Carver, making the evidence unreliable. Carver was initially accused and charged with his cousin, Neal Cassada, who were at the Catawba River fishing when Yarmolenko’s body was found. Cassada suffered a fatal heart attack the day before his trial began. Last month, Mumma, Sullivan and District Attorney Locke Bell went before Superior Court Judge David Lee to discuss issues they were having during the discovery stage of the legal process. Mumma was requesting a number of documents and digital information to help bolster her case and claimed she was not receiving the documents necessary from Bell and the state lab. Some of the Q and A: "What drew you to Mark Carver’s case? We were contacted by his family and of course the case got a lot of attention. Then there was also very strong dissent at the Court of Appeals. Of the three judge panels at the Court of Appeals, one of the judges, Judge Hunter, had very strong dissent about questioning the DNA evidence used to convict him.........Where is the case at currently? We filed a motion December of 2016 that laid out a number of things that is primarily based on ineffective counsel. We believe there’s so many things that should have been presented at trial that weren’t. Those include the DNA evidence; the defense didn’t put on a DNA expert at all. We believe there’s issues with the DNA in the way it was analyzed and reported did not meet the scientific standards available in 2011 at the time of his trial. We believe there was likely contamination of the victim’s vehicle. We have video that shows there was contamination. Mark has a very low IQ and his attorneys never had him evaluated and that’s important because when he was interviewed by law enforcement, that interview was recorded and that interview shows how easily he can be led through a conversation. He just tries to be agreeable. One of the things presented at trial was his knowledge of the height of the victim, but the video shows Mark is mimicking the officer. The defense attorneys did not show that at trial, and we think that impacted the verdict. He had carpal tunnel and arm surgeries, and had his medical reports been obtained, the doctors had told him there’s limitations in how much he could lift. We believe that prevented him from being able to struggle with a young healthy lady.........What else do we need to know?The issue of the interpretation of DNA mixtures is one that is being looked at nationally. So the problems with the DNA mixture cases in North Carolina is not unique, but the denial of the issue and the action to ensure justice was served in each case impacted by the new policies have been unique in that no action is being taken. In 2010 the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods, they issued guidelines on the way DNA mixtures should be interpreted. So when Mark’s case happened, the analysis happened in 2008. The guidelines came out in 2010 and he wasn’t taken to trial until march of 2011. In the impact of those guidelines on the 2008 analysis was never reviewed. So we’re actually saying had the DNA evidence been analyzed under the most up-to-date scientific guidelines at the time of this trial, not only would he not have been convicted, he never would have been taken to trial. I guess the other thing is Ira has not received justice, and the true perpetrator of this murder.

The entire Q and A can be found at: