Jason Carter broke down in tears on Thursday upon hearing the jury’s verdict: Not guilty. Jurors agreed that he didn’t kill his mother Shirley Dene Carter.
Prosecutors in Marion County, Iowa said the defendant attempted to stage the murder as a burglary. He killed his mother for financial reasons, they said. Investigators claimed Carter said he simply found his mother dead. They said he also gave inconsistent statements, left latent prints at the scene and knew things only someone present at the murder would’ve known. Carter’s defense argued that there’s no way he could’ve been able to commit the deed under the provable timeline of events.
Carter’s father successfully sued him in 2017 for $10 million in the murder. Prosecutors filed a probable cause statement the day after the verdict, and charged him in the case.
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.
Carter’s father Bill Carter testified against the defendant. Bill said Shirley was his childhood sweetheart.
Correction – March 27, 2019, 11:16 a.m.: The original version of this article said that “The defense also complained about prosecutors relying on statements from jailhouse inmates in implicating Carter in the murder.” This is incorrect. The defense used statements from jailhouse inmates who implicated other suspects, not Carter, in the murder. No jailhouse inmate tied the defendant to the alleged murder.
[Image via Marion County Jail]