COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — Thursday the jury in Jason Carter’s first-degree murder trial heard from his father, Bill Carter, and two witnesses from the medical examiner’s office.
Jason Carter is accused of shooting his mother, Shirley Carter, to death in June 19, 2015.
Bill Carter spent more than four hours on the witness stand.
Bill talked about how he and Shirley were high school sweethearts and were married for more than 50 years.
The jury also took a virtual tour of Bill Carter’s house and saw the kitchen where Shirley was murdered.
Bill still currently lives in that house and described to the jury what life was like living and working on the farm with Shirley.
Marion County Attorney Ed Bull asked Bill Carter about how he and Shirley divided their work, “What about out in the fields? Was it 90 percent you and 10 percent her?” Bill responded,
“No it was 50/50. She’d run the equipment for me, got ground ready and then I planted it and she always stayed ahead of me and did a perfect job.”
When Bull asked about his and Shirley’s will, Bill said if both he and Shirley had died on June 19, 2015, Jason Carter would have gotten, “The farm which was worth $3.5 to 4 million and another $800,000 at least in cash assets.”
Bill said he was a mess when she died. He was sad, but also angry.
One thing he said frustrated him was he heard members of the media say those who lived in the area didn’t need to worry about locking their doors following the murder and he felt that law enforcement officials had already pointed fingers at family members.
“We had a meth lab that was south of us about three years before. And the boys that were running it, took off into the timber and we all got phone calls to lock our doors and be on the lookout. And then my wife is lying there dead and they say don’t worry about it,” Bill said.
During testimony, he described the timeline of what he did on the morning of Shirley’s death.
After he and Shirley went to get coffee at Casey’s, Bill dropped Shirley off at their Lacona home and then drove to pick up his semi to haul grain to the Eddyville Cargill plant. After a few more stops in his day, he received a heart breaking phone call from his daughter, Jana Lain, and he said that she told him, “Mom’s dead and Jason found her and he won’t call 911. You have to call 911.”
Bill said he then dialed 911 and rushed home to find Shirley dead on the kitchen floor.
“I found Shirley on the floor and she just looked like she was sleeping. Her eyes were closed and her hands were crossed and her legs were crossed,” Bill said, “The first thing I did was check (the) carotid artery and she was dead. And I picked her head up and I kissed her on the forehead and she was cold.”
Bill said Jason then started pointing out bullet holes and said to him, “Some son of a bitch has robbed you and they’ve killed mom.”
The prosecution also called two witnesses from the medical examiner’s office who performed the autopsy on Shirley.
Bull said they hope to rest their case after more testimony on Friday.