Irina Yarmolenko Update: Mark Carver guilty of murder in 2008 death of UNC-Charlotte student

Irina "Ira" Yarmolenko
(CBS/AP)  GASTONIA, N.C. - A Gaston County jury has found a man guilty of the strangulation murder of University of North Carolina-Charlotte student Irina Yarmolenko nearly three years ago.

The jury reached its verdict after about two hours of deliberation Monday. The judge then sentenced 42-year-old Mark Carver to life in prison without parole.

Carver and his cousin, Neal Cassada, were accused of strangling the 20-year-old Yarmolenko on the banks of the Catawba River in May 2008. Cassada died from a heart attack the day before his trial.

Carver said he was innocent. Forensic experts testified that his DNA was found on Yarmolenko's car but not on the drawstring, bag handle and bungee cord used to strangle her.

Yarmolenko's brother, Pavel, thanked the jury after the verdict was announced.

More on Crimesider

March 15, 2011 - Murder trial begins in case of UNC-Charlotte coed Irina Yarmolenko

Oct. 11, 2010 - Ira Yarmolenko: Suspect in UNC Student's Murder Dies Hours Before Trial