Follow up: Gaston County D.A. accused of withholding evidence in murder case
On Monday, July 3, 2017, a Superior Court judge granted Mark Carver’s request for an evidentiary hearing, which will be held in September. Carver claims he was wrongly convicted of the 2008 death of Irina Yarmolenko, a UNC Charlotte student. As previously discussed here, Carver’s attorney, Chris Mumma of the N.C. Center on Actual Innocence, has alleged that Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell failed to comply with a court order directing him to turn over investigative and prosecutor files. No ruling on the contempt motion was entered, according to local media reports, and Mumma repeated her request for a contempt finding during the hearing.
As The Charlotte Observer reported on Monday: “Mumma and Bell have been wrangling for months over evidence. North Carolina is known as an ‘open-file discovery’ state in which the law requires attorneys to turn over their complete files to the opposing side.” Although the District Attorney’s Office provided Mumma with additional files during Monday’s hearing, the earlier concerns raised about Bell’s office’s full compliance appear to remain, with the presiding judge “elicit[ing] promises from Bell and Mumma that they would exchange all evidence before any hearing on the defense request for a new trial takes place.”