Free Mark Carver
The North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence, a branch of Innocence Project, accepted Mark Carver's case for review in 2013. NCCAI states, "The Center's primary mission is to identify, investigate and advance credible claims of innocence, obtaining justice for people imprisoned for crimes they did not commit, for the victims of those crimes, and for the actual perpetrators" (from the Mission page). This non-profit organization depends on donations and volunteer work from North Carolina attorneys and law school students. NCCAI is the correct destination for financial contributions on behalf of legal work for Mark Carver through 2014. Interested donors may learn more by visiting NCCAI.org. Thank you for your help.
We welcome you to take time to read through all the pages of content available here, using the menu links in the bar at the top. The Suicide research and the Video will be of special interest to you. You are also welcome to leave comments of support for the Cassada and Carver families on the Justice for Neal and Mark Facebook page or through the contact page on this site. Supporters from the home communities of Neal Cassada and Mark Carver established the FreeMarkCarver.com website and printed bumper stickers, as shown above. When the webmaster contacted us near the beginning of 2013 to ask if he could direct the FreeMarkCarver.com domain to this one, we were pleased to be of assistance.
The following are some of the messages that have been sent through the contact form or related social media accounts in support of the Carver and Cassada families. Portions have been omitted to conserve space or to protect identity.
February 5, 2014
"This case troubles me for several reasons--I believe a killer/s are walking the streets while two innocent men are paying for cowardice. I do not believe there is enough supporting forsensic evidence to convict either man. On a more personal level I have a six-year-old granddaughter that looks amazingly similar to Ira--I cannot imagine the grief this family must be feeling. I am sorry if I bothered you about my questions. I did it because I really do care about this case. And someday I hope the key to his freedom is found."
February 2, 2014
"Thanks for looking into this case. The inability of cops and prosecution to understand suicide is obvious. The use of a ribbon. If tied in a bow in front, then the hoodie tied in front, nice and pretty is not something these could do well prior to her death. Yet, there are no bruises to show a fight or restraint. Without DNA mess up this scene is all wrong. Bows are girlie things and nice and tidy. . . . Fisherman are not really going to hangout there doing all that."
February 2, 2014
"I watch your show all the time. I am a good, law abiding citizen. I do not know any of these parties. . . . Injustice has been done!!! I think the community was scared and needed a scapegoat! These men did not kill this precious girl! How can this family live with this injustice????"
December 26, 2013
"If the things I have read are correct, Mr. Carver was found guilty in this case simply because he was nearby when her body was found. The DNA evidence seems quite suspect and no evidence of motive or anything else was ever produced. Mr. Carver deserves a new trial at the very least. I just cannot understand how he could be convicted based on this meager evidence."
December 4, 2013
". . . I'm going to be following this closely. That Jailhouse Interview Mark did with the Gaston Gazette was HEART WRENCHING?? He just looks so lost & confused & sad. I feel sooo bad for him. Gaston Gazette video: Yarmolenko murder suspect speaks"
October 25, 2013
Email titled Dateline episode, "I found it shocking that when the prosecutor was asked about motive by Mr. Morrison, he responded by saying he could see these two getting out of control over some dispute with Ira. For two men with no criminal record and the fathers of daughters, I find that statement outrageous."
October 21, 2013
"I saw the Dateline rerun on OWN last night and was left really flat as to the outcome (guilty outcome for Carver) and the total glossing over of the suicide and murder motive aspects. I look forward to following the developments of the case on your site."
October 12, 2013
"I strongly believe an innocent man was sentenced to life for a crime he did not commit. . . . I know it's hard for loved ones to accept that it might be a real possibility, but there is no way Mr. Carver is guilty of murder in this case. . . . Thank you for your work on this; I hope Mr. Carver finds his own justice in this tragedy."
September 23, 2013
"The world of TV & the internet present us with more stories of injustice than we could ever respond to as individuals. However, after viewing this particularly tragic & puzzling story on Dateline, I just couldn't remain anonymous. Thanks for creating this website, which permitted me to affirm the conclusion to which I was already headed after pondering the apparent facts. . . . The killer in this case was, alas, the first person to die in the story, Ms. Yarmolenko, a lovely but privately troubled young lady. In the TV story, various acquaintances are quoted about how good she made THEM feel when around her. Did any of them ever try to find out how Ms. Yarmolenko was truly feeling? In her desperation, she happened to choose the same fishing locale that the two accused had frequented countless times along with others, all spreading their DNA so easily transferred by unsuspecting, naive investigators."
September 2, 2013
"I just wanted to say that Mark Carver appears to be a good 'ol country boy. I looked and listened through all the Dateline show, and things just don't add up. If the young lady's death is ruled as one of strangulation, how in the world do you send a man to prison without a chance for parole when his DNA can't even be found on one of the 3 strands that were around her neck?!! . . . To Carver's family, the good, kind man you and others have described him as, well, he continues to be."
August 4, 2013
"Where you are innocent stand by your innocence!!!! I can imagine what you are going through. I too was falsely accused and maintained my innocence to the end. . . . Stay strong my friend, whistle when you can, sing to yourself at all hours of the day and smile at the sun for at some point the doors will open . . . ."
July 30, 2013
"EXCELLENT website! Sunday night, I watched a repeat of Dateline's 'Mystery on the Catawba River.' Since I live in Hickory (also along the Catawba) I decided to watch . . . . By the time the program had finished, I was left with several conclusions (consistent with your website): 1) Yarmolenko committed suicide; 2) an innocent man (Cassada) suffered a fatal heart attack, almost certainly as a result from the stress of an innocent man about to stand trial for first-degree murder; 3) an innocent man (Carver) was unjustly convicted and sentenced to life without parole for a crime he did NOT commit! . . . I'm just an ordinary citizen interested in undoing the unjust act of imprisoning an innocent man. . . ."
July 25, 2013
"A very interesting case. . . . Cops can be sloppy, that's for sure -- sometimes intentionally -- and DAs often misuse their office for political advancement, framing suspects to improve their own public images and ratings. Crimes of a different nature, for which none of these officials ever feel guilt or shame. So, sadly, this could be what happened here."
April 7, 2013
"After watching the Dateline special about this case, I was very puzzled as to what had happened. There were so many holes in the story, that I wanted to know more. . . . So, I found your website, and suddenly all of the holes in this case were filled. . . . I work in a psychiatric hospital with people who are suicidal and have done so for over 6 years. Some people give out obvious signals that they are unhappy and others do not. I think that Irina's happy-go-lucky personality was much more for the benefit of others than herself. . . . The final tragic irony is that Irina was obviously the kind of person who would have been so saddened to realize that her suicide caused an innocent man to be imprisoned. If there is life after death and she is watching, I can only imagine her horror and sadness about what happened after her death."
January 28, 2013
"Thank you responding. . . . I have kept up with the case because her death was so incredibly shocking to everyone that knew her. I never ever once considered suicide as cause of death because I never saw Ira without a gorgeous smile on her face. She was an absolutely amazing human being and would have done anything for anyone. I obviously did not know her well enough to know that she had a troubled past. That was surprising to hear, which is why I asked. I appreciate your response. I had never met anyone like Ira and I doubt that I ever will again. She had a way of strongly affecting everyone around her in a positive way. It is extremely tragic, whatever the cause of death may be. I do believe an innocent man is in jail. I am still on the fence about the theory of suicide. Whatever the case may be, she was incredible and should be remembered as such."
January 25, 2013
"I covered the trial for [name of news agency withheld to protect identity] and have always maintained this was a suicide. I'm appalled the NC Supreme Court upheld this conviction. If there is anything I may help you with please let me know. . . . I do not intend to hurt the Yarmolenko family, but seeing this evidence start to finish is clear. A man is spending his life in prison and it's a disgrace."