WATERLOO | Jurors were deliberating Theresa "Terri" Supino's guilt or innocence today in the murder of her estranged husband and his girlfriend more than 30 years ago.
The panel spent about 90 minutes on the case Thursday but reached no verdict. The jury was to resume its efforts at 9 a.m. today.
Authorities allege Supino used a heavy instrument with a sharp edge to kill Steven Fisher, 20, and Melisa Gregory, 17. The pair died in 1983 on the Copper Dollar Ranch in Jasper County.
Authorities arrested Supino, now 54, in 2014, and the case moved to Waterloo on a change of venue. The trial began Feb. 2.
Her defense attorney Steven Addington concluded his closing statement Thursday afternoon, and then prosecutor Michael Jacobsen offered a rebuttal. Judge Terry Rickers turned the case over to members of the jury about 2:45 p.m.
During his closing statement, prosecutor Scott Nicholson completed his "puzzle of guilt" for jurors, piecing together evidence and laying out theories he said proves Supino committed two counts of first-degree murder.
According to Nicholson's version of events, Supino was upset and went looking for her two-timing husband. She got a ride from her twin brother, Tim Supino, and went to the horse farm.
Nicholson theorized Terri Supino discovered her husband with Gregory in a 20-foot camper and "interrupted" them.
Nicholson noted the severity of Fisher's and Gregory's injuries: Both suffered multiple "chop" wounds to their heads and faces, and their skulls were "crushed."
Given those wounds, Nicholson said "you don't have to be a CSI investigator to realize" the murderer engaged in overkill. He added the brutality of the attacks "clearly shows rage."
"I submit to you when Terri Supino went to the ranch, she got her heart broken again," Nicholson said.
Nicholson also suggested Fisher had to know his killer. The prosecutor cited as evidence the fact Fisher exited the trailer and was only wearing blue jeans. There was also a shotgun in the camper.
"If he thought he was in some kind of danger, he would have pulled the shotgun," Nicholson told jurors.
During his closing statement, which lasted about two hours, Nicholson referenced many of Supino's statements to investigators and the many inconsistencies in her version of events. In particular, Nicholson talked about Supino describing a crime scene photo that showed Gregory seated at the camper's dining table.
Gregory's nude body was discovered on its back, lying on a bench beside the table.
The photo described by Supino doesn't exist, Nicholson said. He suggested Supino saw a wounded Gregory sitting at the table because Supino was in the camper.
"Where did that image come from if she wasn't there to see it?" Nicholson asked.
Nicholson said Supino had a strong motive and the opportunity to kill, and he drew a conclusion for jurors.
"The way those two young people were killed, it's clearly murder in the first degree," he said.
Addington told jurors the case was "a murder mystery from 1983," and he, too, was waiting for "that one twist that will tell you who did it."
The only twist, Addington said, was interest from a television reality show, "Cold Justice." Jasper County Sheriff John Halferty and other investigators worked with the show prior to arresting Supino.
"They needed a good ending," Addington told jurors. "And that's why we're here today."
Addington acknowledged the prosecutors' theory Supino killed Fisher and Gregory.
"However, there is no physical evidence," Addington said.
He reminded jurors police found none of Supino's hair, blood, DNA, fibers or fingerprints at the crime scene. Addington also noted investigators recovered no physical evidence from Supino's clothes, residence or the vehicle she was reportedly in.
"It is impossible to believe Theresa Fisher, Theresa Supino, did not take any of the crime scene with her," Addington said.
Subsequent DNA tests conducted only recently also failed to identify Supino's DNA.
Addington showed jurors Supino's jeans from the era introduced as evidence.
"Terri was an 80-pound woman. ... They want you to believe the woman who wore those jeans overpowered Steven Fisher and Melisa Gregory," Addington said, holding up the small pants.
Addington threw jurors another likely suspect for the murders: Harold "Hal" Snedeker, owner of the Copper Dollar Ranch. Snedeker was a convicted drug dealer in Florida who brought up to 300 pounds of marijuana into Iowa at a time in 1982 and 1983.
Snedeker testified during the trial and admitted receiving immunity from prosecution 32 years ago in exchange for information. During Supino's trial, Snedeker said he was trafficking in marijuana to save his horse farm.
"The Copper Dollar Ranch was not profitable, but his drug business was," Addington told jurors Thursday.
Addington discounted Supino's "three so-called confessions." Two, he said, were comments attributed to Supino no one else could corroborate.
The third was a phone conversation between Tim and Theresa Supino recorded at the Jasper County Jail after Supino's arrest. During that exchange, Supino said "I killed Steve Fisher. I didn't kill anybody else."