Civil Trial Helped Investigators in Charging Jason Carter with Murder

Jason Carter (WHO-HD)

KNOXVILLE, Iowa – The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office released more information Monday morning about the murder arrest of Jason Carter.

Just days after a Marion County jury found Jason Carter responsible for the wrongful death of his mother Shirley Carter, he was arrested and charged with her murder. Officials say he was taken into custody without incident Sunday afternoon at a Knoxville gas station.

Shirley Carter was found shot to death in her Lacona home in June of 2015.

Bill Carter, Shirley’s husband and Jason’s father, filed a civil wrongful death lawsuit against Jason after being disappointed authorities had not charged his son with murder. That lawsuit came to an end last week, when a jury found Jason Carter responsible for Shirley’s death and awarded $10 million to Bill Carter.

The criminal complaint against Jason Carter says he had been the one to discover Shirley Carter’s body and he told 911 dispatchers his mother had been shot and the home had been burglarized.

The criminal complaint also says during the investigation, they found Jason provided information that was incriminating and also gave inconsistent statements regarding his involvement.

Evidence highlighted in the criminal complaint says the burglary at the home was staged and though Jason Carter testified under oath he had not touched evidence at the crime scene – his fingerprints were found on the evidence.

Investigators also say Jason Carter knew information about the crime that only someone who was present when the crime was committed could have known.

During the news conference, Special Agent Mike Motsinger with the Iowa DCI said investigators were able to gather a few more pieces of information during the civil trial – but ultimately — he believed Jason Carter would have been charged with Shirley Carter’s murder even if he had prevailed in the civil lawsuit.

He said investigators had reviewed thousands of hours of interviews and other evidence, as well as depositions taken for the civil trial.

Motsinger also spoke about the difference in burden of proof needed between civil and criminal trials. In civil trials, there only needs to be a preponderance of evidence. In criminal trials, the case must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Jason Carter made is initial court appearance Monday morning in Marion County. He is being held on a bond of $1 million in the Marion County Jail.