Andrew Babyak, Cherilyn Crawford, William Royster and Timothy Stone
Almost ten years later, this is the only unsolved quadruple murder in Charlotte’s history.
In March 2008, Babyak, Crawford, Royster and Stone were shot execution style in an apartment close to Archdale and I-77. Babyak and Crawford were from Tega Cay, Royster owned the apartment and Stone was from New York and while police aren’t positive what brought them together, suspect drugs were involved, saying that they suspect “these people were involved in a lifestyle that put them in jeopardy.”
Despite there being “a lot of gunshots,” – each victim was shot more than once around 4:30 a.m. – neighbors heard and know nothing. To this day, there are no new leads and the case has gone cold.
24-year-old Fleischmann went to a Dane Cook show before going to Buckhead Saloon in Uptown with a group of friends that went home around 1 a.m. while he stayed behind.
At 2:18 a.m., he tried to call his sister but didn’t get an answer and headed to Fuel Pizza, where an employee has confirmed that he ate two Extreme slices at 2:20 a.m. While there, he made a handful of phone calls at 2:42 a.m.: One to a local business, another to his voicemail and four to his father in the span of 15 minutes.
At 3:28 a.m., Fleischmann called his best friend and then his roommate, both of which lasted 4 and 6 seconds respectively, but didn’t leave a message for either.
The employee at Fuel doesn’t remember him leaving, but a cab driver saw a man believed to be Fleischmann near Hunter Wrecker Service on North Davidson at 3:25 a.m. Police are certain it was him, as his cell phone pinged a tower close to that area three minutes later.
And then Fleischmann disappeared. He never made another phone call, his bank accounts have been inactive since and he was never seen again.
While Fleischmann’s parents suspect that he was murdered and buried at a construction site near North Davidson, the area has been thoroughly searched by authorities and his body has never been found.
Yarmolenko, a 20-year-old UNCC student, was found near her car, which had hit a stump at the bottom of a steep embankment at the Catawba River, with a bungee cord, a ribbon from her bag and her own hoodie drawstring wrapped twice, and tightly, around her neck. She was on her back and, according to detectives, her clothes and hair were wet.
The man who found Yarmolenko has said that there was nobody around the area, but 100 yards down, a man named Mark Carver was fishing in a spot far enough away to make it impossible to see and hear what would have happened in the spot she was found, though detectives said otherwise.
He was with his cousin, Neal Cassada, and both have been charged with Yarmolenko’s murder, though there’s speculation that both men are innocent – and that she actually killed herself, but a medical examiner ruled that the cause of death was asphyxiation.
The hard facts are these: That morning, Yarmolenko stopped at a credit union at 10:18 a.m., then went to Goodwill just after 10:30 a.m before dropping off a goodbye gift at 10:50 a.m. on her way to Mount Holly and passed the Stowe Family YMCA at 11:09 a.m. before going down the embankment at about 15 miles per hour and hitting the stump.
Although there was no real proof that Carver and Cassada killed Yarmolenko, police found it suspicious that they were so close to her and claimed not to hear or see anything. The two allowed themselves to be questioned by officials and have their cheeks swabbed. Cassada took a polygraph, which he passed, but Carver was never given one.
When their DNA was found in three spots in her car, the two men were arrested and charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy. Their DNA was never actually found on her body – so whose is it?
Cassada died a week before his trial was set to begin and Carver resisted a plea deal. Though the judge found the state’s case to be weak at first, Carver was deemed guilty thanks to a “got you” moment during a cross-examination based on a question about Yarmolenko’s height: Though he never saw her, he knew how tall she was. To officials, he knew because he killed her.
Plenty of people believe Carver, who is a life sentence with no parole, is innocent. He’s working with Chris Mumma, the executive director of the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence, and there’s an entire website dedicated to proving that he didn’t have a hand in Yarmolenko’s death.