TAMA – The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld the murder conviction of a Tama man accused of helping his mother kill his wife in 2013.
Dustin Jerome Jefferson’s wife, Kerry O’Clair Jefferson, was stabbed to death in September 2013.
His mother, Ginger Jefferson, was convicted for murder in the stabbing. Authorities allege Dustin Jefferson had a role in the slaying because of Kerry’s blood on his clothing and sandals, because the knife belonged to him and because the victim had bruises and a black eye that weren’t likely to have come from the older and smaller Ginger Jefferson.
A jury found Dustin Jefferson guilty of first-degree murder following a 2016 trial, and he was sentenced to life in prison.
On appeal, Dustin Jefferson, 43, had argued the evidence presented at his trial wasn’t sufficient to support the jury’s guilty verdict.
In a split decision, the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled against Dustin Jefferson’s request.
“Taking the evidence in the light most favorable to the State ... we find the state presented sufficient evidence from which a jury could conclude Dustin knew of Ginger’s intent to kill Kerry and assisted her in the act of killing Kerry,” Judge Michael Mullins wrote in the opinion for the majority.
Judge Amanda Potterfield filed a dissenting opinion that sided with the defense.
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“The inferences upon which support for this murder conviction relies are stacked on top of each other without evidence. They require manipulation of the evidence that does exist and rank speculation about what may have occurred and what the jury may have imagined could have happened,” Potterfield wrote in her opinion that state she would send it back to the district court for dismissal.