COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — On Thursday, a jury found Jason Carter not guilty of murdering his mother, Shirley Carter.
Defense rested its case early on Thursday and attorneys for both sides immediately went into closing statements.
After a few hours the evidence was handed over to the jury to deliberate.
Judge Brad McCall read the jury’s verdict aloud to an anxious crowd in the courtroom, “We the jury find Jason Carter not guilty.”
Jason Carter and his wife, Shelly Carter, embraced each other and burst into tears hearing a verdict.
Channel 13 Reporter Laura Barczewski asked Jason about his reaction to the verdict and he was full of emotion.
“I can’t even talk I’m sorry. I just want to go home and see my kids. It’s been a long time coming. I’ve had to endure so much. No one can even come close to knowing,” Jason Carter said.
Shelly Carter was right next to Jason for the entire day on Thursday.
“To finally have some justice is all that matters,” Shelly Carter said.
Prosecutor Marion County Attorney Ed Bull said he felt they tried the case to the best of their ability.
“We respect the system when they come back not guilty. That’s the way our system works. We tried as good of a case as we can with the facts that we had,” Bull said.
Jason Carter’s Attorney Christine Branstad said they couldn’t have asked for a better verdict but hopes the investigation is not over.
“It is certainly our hope that the investigation opens up. There’s still information to work with. It’s clearly a cold case, but Jason has been asking for additional investigation for a long time,” Branstad said.
It took nine full days of testimony, 34 witnesses and about two hours of jury deliberation to reach a verdict.
Jason said he’s glad it’s over and he wants to move forward trying to rebuild his life.
Barczewski asked Jason if he would ever be able to reconnect with his father again.
He responded, “You know, a lot of people don’t know that my dad came and talked to me last fall and he said he was sorry. I don’t know. It’s just something you gotta think about. I just want them to figure out, bring the people, that did this to my mom, to justice. Do your job. Just do your job.”