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Who Killed Shirley Carter?

Posted: Wednesday, December 6th, 2017 at 5:02 am
Author: KNIA/KRLS News - Dr. Bob Leonard

The wrongful death civil lawsuit trial of Shirley Carter began Tuesday at the Marion County Courthouse.

Bill Carter, of western Marion County, brought the lawsuit against his youngest son Jason Carter. Bill says Jason shot and killed his mother and Bill’s wife, 68-year-old Shirley Carter. Shirley was found dead from a gunshot wound at her home on June 19, 2015.

Opening arguments began with attorney for the plaintiff Mark Weinhardt telling the jury of eight women and one man that they would see a preponderance of evidence that would allow them to conclude who killed Shirley Carter. Weinhardt told the jury that the man who murdered Carter was sitting in the courtroom, and pointed at her son, Jason. Weinhardt then laid out a timeline that would place defendant Jason Carter at the scene during the murder. He alleged that Jason was a spendthrift with deep money troubles, a troubled marriage, and a girlfriend he was hiding from his wife, and that he saw his mother in the way of his much needed inheritance. Weinhardt suggested that Jason Carter may have intended to kill his father, plaintiff Bill Carter as well, and those plans may have gone awry, or Jason may have had second thoughts. At the time, Weinhardt said Bill and Shirley Carter had approximately $10 million in assets. Weinhardt also introduced alleged suspicious behavior by Jason Carter, and alleged that he knew things that only the murderer would know.

Attorney for Jason Carter, Steve Wandro of Des Moines, presented a very different story. He told the jury Jason had no money problems and a loving relationship with his mother. He presented a different timeline that would not have allowed Jason to be on scene during the murder. He told the jury that it was indeed true that the murderer of Shirley Carter was in the courtroom, and turned and pointed at Bill, Shirley’s husband, and Jason’s father. Wandro told the jury that Bill and Shirley had marriage problems, and that witnesses would share that Shirley had “had enough” of Bill’s controlling behavior, and that perhaps the two had an altercation, and that Bill had “snapped.”

Two witnesses, a Melcher-Dallas first responder, and a DCI agent also took the stand. The trial continues Wednesday beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Marion County Courthouse.