Carter vs. Carter: ‘I Was Sorry I Wasn’t There to Protect Her’

KNOXVILLE, Iowa  --  The Carter vs. Carter civil lawsuit in Marion County continued on Friday with more testimony from Justin Jordan, Bill Carter’s neighbor, DCI Special Agent Don Schnitker, DCI Criminalist Vic Murillo, DCI Criminalist Anna Young, and Bill Carter.

Bill’s wife, Shirley Carter, was shot and killed at her home in Lacona in 2015.

When Bill Carter was on the witness stand on Friday, he talked about Jason Carter’s finances and said he and Shirley believed Jason was struggling.

"It wasn’t the land as much as the recreational stuff that bothered me… Shirley said, 'Billy, how deep do you think they will be in this fall?’ And I said, ‘A hundred to a hundred and fifty-thousand.’ And she said, ‘Are we gonna bail them out?’ And I said, ‘No.’ And she said, ‘Good,’” Bill said.

Bill also talked about the day Shirley was killed as he remembered it:

  • Shirley got up at 6 a.m. and she woke Bill up at 6:30 a.m. when breakfast was ready.
  • Then Shirley and Bill went to get coffee in Milo.
  • Then they headed for home, drank their coffee on the way, and Bill dropped Shirley off and she said she was going to go in and finish her coffee before she did chores.
  • Bill said that was the last time he saw Shirley alive before he went to load and unload grain.
  • The next time he saw her she was dead in their Lacona farm home.

“I checked her carotid artery and then I kissed her on the forehead and she was cool, I knew she was gone. I picked her head up and held her. I told her I was sorry. I was sorry I wasn’t there to protect her,” Bill said.

While he was grieving, Bill said Jason came in the house and they started looking around.

"He came in the house. And he said, 'dad, go downstairs and see if a gun went off.' And I couldn't see where she'd even been shot. And I was in shock and I went and started downstairs, and I got to the bottom of the stairs and I turned around and said, 'I’ve never had any guns loaded,'” Bill said.

Bill said Jason pointed out different parts of the crime scene like the bullet in the refrigerator and the knick on the floor. He also told Bill the office looked ransacked.

"He said, ‘Dad, look in your office. Somebody’s robbed you and the sons of b**** killed mom,’" Bill said.

Bill Carter will be back to testify when court is back in session at 9:30 a.m. on Monday.