KNOXVILlLE, Iowa -- The first day of the Carter vs. Carter trial was packed with the tail end of jury selection, opening statements, and testimony from two witnesses.
This trial is a civil lawsuit, not criminal, brought by Bill Carter and his son Billy Carter against the other son, Jason Carter. This lawsuit focuses on the death of wife and mother Shirley Carter, who was shot and killed in the family’s Lacona, Iowa, farmhouse kitchen on June 19th, 2015.
No one was ever arrested for the murder.
Bill Carter’s Attorney Mark Weinhardt made the first opening statement.
"This is a case about a son who murdered his own mother. This is a civil lawsuit. You can't put someone in jail, you can make a statement,” Weinhardt said.
Weinhardt said they will not be asking for money damages in this case. Later in Weinhardt’s statement, he said Jason Carter killed his mother, Shirley.
Jason’s attorney Steve Wandro made the second opening statement.
"Jason had a loving, close relationship with his mother. There was never any inkling of any problem with Jason Carter and his mother," he said.
Wandro said they believe Bill Carter killed his wife, not Jason, and they are trying to clear Jason’s name.
The first witnesses called to the stand were both officials who investigated the scene. Curtis Seddon, an emergency responder on the case, said he was the first one to arrive.
"They were both outside of the property as I pulled up. In the driveway in between the house, the porch and the garage area, somewhere in that location,” Seddon said.
He added when he arrived, Bill and Jason were talking and told him Shirley had been shot.
DCI Crime Scene Investigator Mike Halverson was the second and final witness of the day, and much of what he talked about focused on his investigation of the crime scene.
“Standing in the kitchen, you could see that the bullet had penetrated the floor. And penetrated means that it goes in and doesn’t go all the way through, versus a perforation, which means the bullet would go in and pass through, so entrance and exit. So we wanted to see if it was a penetration of the floor or a perforation of the floor."
Attorneys were not done questioning Halverson before recess at 4:30 p.m.
Court reconvenes at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday.