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Watch: Jason Carter Murder Trial


Jason Carter stands trial for first-degree murder in Marion County, Iowa for the June 19, 2015 shooting death of his mother Shirley Dene Carter. Prosecutors claim he called 911 and tried to pass off his mom’s passing as the result of a deadly burglary. Investigators insist there was plenty to incriminate him. He gave inconsistent statements, left latent prints on the evidence, and knew details that only someone present at the crime would have known, according to the probable cause affidavit. Also, he allegedly withheld important details from his first interviews with law enforcement.

Carter wasn’t charged at first. His father Bill G. Carter accused him of killing Shirley, however, and successfully sued. He convinced jurors that Jason committed matricide. A $10 million verdict came down down Dec. 15, 2017. The probable cause affidavit was dated the next day, and the arrest came the day after that.

Civil proceedings require only a findings based on a preponderance of the evidence, which is a lot easier plaintiffs than the “reasonable doubt” standard facing prosecutors in criminal cases.

It’s an “undisputed fact” that Jason Carter was traveling the morning his mother died, his legal team said in a May 2018 filing requesting a new civil trial. According to a March 2017 ruling denying a motion for summary judgment, the defendant insisted he was at a facility in Eddyville, Iowa at 9:52 a.m., called his sister at 11:08 a.m. to tell her that he found their mother dead, and reached out to 911 just three minutes later. Carter argued that it would have been impossible for him to commit the murder, considering the distance between his workplace and his parents’ home, the cell phone information, and the timeline.

The lawyers also argued that other evidence–including a statement from two inmates–implicated two brothers in the actual homicide. A Marion County circuit court judge denied the defense’s motion for a new trial, finding that the inmates’ statements were unreliable, not backed by physical evidence, and often involved hearsay.

From the ruling dated Jan. 31, 2019:

Based on the evidence presented, the Court finds most of the individuals claiming to have information about Shirley Carter’s death were themselves incarcerated in the Marion County Jail or facing criminal charges and looking “to make a deal.”

[Mugshot via Marion County Jail]

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