COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — On Wednesday, both expert witnesses and family members testified in the first-degree murder trial of Jason Carter, who is accused of killing his mother Shirley Carter on June 19, 2015.
Attorneys started where they left off on Tuesday, questioning Iowa DCI Criminalist Mike Halverson.
Halverson talked about the crime scene team’s investigation and examined photographs of scene at the Carter’s house.
He mentioned several items that were seized or not seized during the investigation.
One in particular that was not seized right away was the gun safe. Halverson said, “At the time, I did not believe it had any evidentiary value.”
Jason Carter’s Attorney Christine Branstad only had one question for Halverson, regarding what the collection of evidence ultimately showed.
“I would say I had no forensic evidence that I was aware of from this laboratory, not just myself, no DNA, no fingerprints, no ballistic evidence that said Jason Carter was responsible or not responsible for this death,” Halverson said.
The jury also heard from Darryl Valinchus, an expert in mapping cell phone towers and visualization. He talked about approximate locations of the Carters’ cell phone calls on June 19, 2015
A former NCIS agent, Joe Kennedy, examined certain aspects of the crime scene in the Carter home, particularly in the bedroom and dining room, which appeared “ransacked.”
“If you look at what is normally taken, what items that should have been taken in a normal break in or burglary were not taken. The act of burglary was never carried out in that crime scene. It is never finished. And so when you think about it there’s things they missed, there’s firearms, there’s several firearms downstairs in plain sight,” Kennedy said.
Jason Carter was brought to tears when he heard his own brother, Billy Carter, talking about the moment he found out their mother had been murdered.
“I had my best friend come and get me because I couldn’t drive,” Billy Carter said.
Marion County Attorney Ed Bull then asked him, “Billy, What do you mean you couldn’t drive?” And he responded, “I just couldn’t drive. I couldn’t function.”
Billy Carter also got very emotional when he talked about a conversation he had with Jason that same day.
“We were bent over and I was patting him on the back I said, ‘Everything’s going to be okay,’ and he said, ‘Do you think they had to rack another round?’ and I said, ‘I don’t know Jason. I don’t know what’s going on,’ ” Billy Carter said.
Bull then asked Billy Carter about a rifle that he purchased for his dad that was missing after the murder, “Did you make a comment about did they use your .270?” And Billy responded, “Yes I bought my dad a .270 for Christmas several years before. It was the best Christmas gift I ever gave him. I just didn’t want it to be that gun.”
Bull said he plans to call Bill Carter, Jason Carter’s father, to the stand and the medical examiner on Thursday when court reconvenes at the Pottawattamie County Courthouse at 9 a.m.