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Jason Carter’s Defense Attorneys Call Their First Witness

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa -- After a one-day delay in the State of Iowa v. Jason Carter trial, the defense started their case on Tuesday.

Jason Carter is accused of killing his mother, Shirley Carter, in 2015.

Jason Carter’s Attorney Christine Branstad called an expert in forensic pathology as her first witness.

Forensic Pathologist Cyril Wecht reviewed both statements and other information to determine his opinion on the circumstances in which Shirley Carter’s body was found, including temperature of her body, level of stiffness and an approximate time of death.

He said he believes Shirley Carter died about two hours before she was found.

“And that was two hours prior to?” Branstad asked. Wecht replied, “The time that Mrs. Carter was found to be dead by her son Mr. Jason Carter with Mr. William Carter and then Ms. Goff the EMT person.”

Defense also called a digital forensics examiner who looked at cell tower and phone record documents to figure out what cell tower was used for calls on one of Jason’s cell phones and whether or not he could tell if Jason left the area of the Carter home.

“Because of the nature of, the ambiguous nature of these coverage maps and the capability of towers to reach varying distances and widths, it is absolutely inconclusive that the mobile device moved,” Digital Forensics Examiner Sean Harrington said.

Defense attorneys also questioned IT Consultant Igor Dobrosavljevic about history and internet searches tied to several of Jason Carter’s email accounts.

The rest of the day was spent questioning Iowa DCI Special Agent Mark Ludwick, who talked about other leads and tips in the case, some of which weren’t followed up on until during this criminal trial.

Branstad asked, “So April 16, 2016, there’s an incoming call with a phone number with information stating that she’s got information about the death including names and where the weapon was disposed of and she was first talked to during the trial?” Ludwick responded, “That’s correct.”

Branstad said Ludwick implied to Jason Carter’s sister, Jana Lain, during an interview, that it was possible Jason could have planted evidence.

“I believe I implied or asked her a question, ‘What if I had a photograph that does not show that bullet in that lip?’ Because of the time of that interview with her, I was told that there was no bullet. As a case agent, I’m just fed all this information throughout that day and I had not had time to look at that photograph,” Ludwick said.

Branstad will continue questioning Ludwick on Wednesday when court is back in session at 9 a.m at the Pottawattamie County Courthouse.

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