The trial includes the late husband of Carter, Bill G. Carter, suing his son Jason Carter, who he blames for the shooting death of his wife. Shirley Carter was found shot to death in her home in western Marion County on the morning of June 19th, 2015.
DCI Criminalist Michael Halverson presented the crime scene to the jury, and described how evidence and photographs were collected. Halverson testified that after evidence was initially collected, and the crime scene released to the family, the DCI returned to collect the gun case. During this visit, a handgun was discovered in a cupboard, and a live round was found at the bottom of the gun safe that had not been noted in the original investigation. Evidence was presented that one bullet entered the kitchen refrigerator from an angle that could possibly been fired from a waist high position from the door.
Special Agent Mark Ludwick with the DCI also took the stand. Despite the effort to make the homicide look like a burglary, Ludwick testified that Shirley Carter’s visible purse, prescription drugs, and checks not being taken isn’t consistent with a burglary. Ludwick presented a timeline with documentation that both Bill and Jason Carter took loads of grain to the Cargill facility in Eddyville the morning of the homicide, and that Bill Carter stopped at Casey’s in Lovilia. Ludwig also was questioned regarding the interview process with Bill and Jason Carter. It was determined that while the home and the vehicles outside of the house had been searched, the DCI only learned that a disposable phone — described as a “sexting” phone — had been hidden in the fuse box under the hood of Jason Carter’s truck when he was interviewed.
Bill D. Carter, the son of Shirley and Bill Carter, took the stand and provided testimony regarding the morning of the murder. Donald Hunerdosse, of Milo, testified that he saw Shirley and Bill at the Casey’s in Milo, prior to the murder, and both were in good moods.
In his opening statement Tuesday, the attorney for Bill Carter told the jury that he would show the audience that Jason Carter lived a reckless lifestyle, was deeply in debt, and allegedly killed Shirley Carter to gain access to his parent’s approximately $10 million dollars in assets. Jason Carter’s wife, Shelly, took the stand. The attorney went through the couple’s debt with her, looking at bank statements and loan documents. He showed the couple’s bank balances often approached zero, and Shelly Carter assured him that is normal in the farming business. The attorney showed that Broadview Farms, owned by Jason and Shelly, owed $566,000 principle on a $575,000 line of credit that was due at the end of the year that Shirley Carter was killed. Their federal tax return in 2014 showed the couple had an adjusted gross income of minus $186,000. Shelly Carter also confirmed during her testimony that husband Jason Carter took a $30,000 hunting trip to New Zealand that involved helicopter rides during the year they took those losses. She says the losses came because they doubled the size of their farming operation, and were holding grain for better marketing opportunities in the future, and the losses were on paper. She also confirmed that Jason Carter had been having an affair, which he initially denied.