Category Archives: Suicide-Mistaken-For-Murder

Mark Carver

Mark Carver is serving a life sentence without parole after his 2011 conviction for strangling Irina Yarmolenko. Her body was found near her car in Mount Holly, on the banks of the Catawba River. Carver and his cousin were fishing downstream at the time.

Chris Mumma, executive director of North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence, is seeking a new trial, arguing that Carver received an inadequate defense and that key pieces of evidence used to convict him would not stand up to updated testing and new information uncovered in the case. In particular, Mumma claims that far more conclusive testing and reporting of DNA will undermine the prosecution’s contention that Carver’s genetic material was found on Yarmolenko’s car.

She also says Carver’s statements to police indicating that he knew the victim’s height can be challenged by interrogation video – never seen by a jury – that shows he was coached into giving the description by a detective.

In 2016, the Charlotte Observer published “Death by the River,” a six-part series raising questions about Carver’s guilt.

Source: Defense in disputed murder case wants Gaston DA punished for withholding evidence June 14, 2017

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Holly McFeeture

Holly McFeeture was convicted in 2013 for killing Matthew Podolak, the father of two of her children with antifreeze in 2006.

At sentencing, Holly’s family members said she was a loving parent and a loyal and trustworthy person, who coached little league and raised her children the best she could as a single mother. “My mom is the greatest mom in the world because she is sweet and kind…I miss her,” said message from Podolak’s two younger children. Holly’s 15-year-old daughter said her mother raised three beautiful and loving children and was always there for them.

Holly was a suspect in Podolak’s death since 2006 when a pathologist concluded he died from chronic intoxication by ethylene glycol, the active ingredient in antifreeze. She was not charged until 2012, after Cleveland police received a tip that the poisoning was not an accident or a suicide.

Podolak’s family always maintained that he didn’t kill himself and that he was suffering from medical problems in the months before his death that caused him pain.

Before the sentencing hearing, McFeeture’s attorneys asked that Corrigan overturn the jury verdicts and acquit McFeeture or grant her a new trial.

They argued that state had failed to tell them that a former boyfriend of McFeeture’s, who was a key witness against her, had testified in another murder trial that sent a man to prison last year.

Jordan argued that attorneys should have been able to question him about it so jurors could weigh it in terms of his credibility. Corrigan, however, denied the requests citing plenty of evidence and testimony that the jury heard questioning the Jamison Kennedy’s credibility — or lack of credibility.

Source: News report August 28, 2013

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Warren Horinek

On March 14, 1995, Warren Horinek called 911, claiming his wife Bonnie had shot herself. When paramedics arrived, they found Bonnie dead. She was lying on the couple’s bed with a gunshot wound to the chest. Warren was frantically administering CPR. On the bed next to Bonnie’s body was a .38 revolver and a shotgun. There was no sign of a break in. Police quickly narrowed the possible scenarios: Either Bonnie had committed suicide or Warren had murdered her. Warren claimed from the beginning that Bonnie had killed herself.

The people normally responsible for prosecuting a murder came to believe that Warren was telling the truth. The crime scene investigator, the homicide sergeant, the medical examiner and the assistant DA assigned to prosecute the case all became convinced that the evidence pointed to suicide.

“I always thought that it was suicide,” Mike Parrish, the prosecutor handling the case, told the Observer last year. “Still do.”

Bonnie’s parents chose to hire a private attorney, who, through a quirk in the law, obtained a grand jury indictment of Horinek. That led to a bizarre trial. Everyone trying to convict Warren was in private practice, and the agents of the state—crime scene investigator, homicide sergeant and assistant DA—all testified for the defense.

It seemed Warren was headed for acquittal until the testimony of the prosecution’s final witness—a blood spatter expert from Oklahoma named Tom Bevel. He testified that the small spots of blood found on Warren’s t-shirt the night of Bonnie’s death were certainly the result of blood spatter form a gunshot. He said the spatter proved Warren had fired a gun the night of the murder.

It was Bevel’s blood spatter testimony that led to Warren’s conviction.

The problem is Bevel may well have been wrong. Several nationally known blood spatter experts have examined the Horinek case and strongly believe the blood spots resulted from Warren administering CPR to Bonnie. They say the key forensic evidence that sent Warren to prison is flawed.

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Robert Fischer

Featured case #44

Robert Fischer is accused of murdering Lee Radder. Robert was staying with relatives ( he was the step-father of the Lee’s wife ). Lee Radder apparently committed suicide on 30 December 2010, after receiving bad news about a business deal. He had spent the night in a heavy drinking session with Robert. Due to being intoxicated, Robert made some confused, inaccurate statements, stating that he was in bed when the shot was fired, whereas in reality he was in close proximity to Lee.

The prosecution allege Robert staged the scene. However this is scientifically impossible. Forensic evidence conclusively demonstrates that Lee shot himself, and there was no staging.

On 28 February 2014, the trial judge overturned the jury’s verdict, on the grounds that the verdict was contrary to the balance of evidence and prosecution misconduct.

  • Lee’s DNA and partial fingerprint were found on the gun
  • There was no trace of Robert (DNA or fingerprint) on the gun
  • The gun in Lee’s hand and the high velocity back spatter on Lee’s hands is compelling evidence that Lee shot himself.
  • Detective Acosta’s opinion that the defendant manipulated Lee’s body and staged the scene is not supported by the physical evidence and lacked credibility.

See here for the full ruling.

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Jason Payne

Featured Case #40 : On December 11, 2007 in the town of Quitman, Texas two people were shot to death. Nichole Payne, wife of Jason Payne and her son by a previous marriage, Austin Taylor Wages. Upon discovering the two bodies Jason immediately called 911 at 9:09 AM and told the operator that “his wife and his son are both shot” and that he needed help.

The lead detective in the case Lt. Det. Miles Tucker of the Wood County Sheriff’s Office requested the assistance of Sgt.Noel Martin, a Criminologist with the Smith County Sheriff’s Office to come out to the crime scene and perform a crime scene reconstruction. After doing a thorough and extensive examination of the crime scene, and a rigorous examination of the autopsy report and other evidence Noel Martin, the only forensic expert at the crime scene issued his findings: Murder Suicide. This must of come as a surprise to Lt. Tucker who likely felt that Martin, a fellow police officer and prosecution expert witness would issue a finding that would support his theory of a Double Homicide.

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