Testimony Resumes in Washington County Murder Trial
By Vanessa Miller, Reporter
WASHINGTON, Iowa -
Testimony in the murder trial of former Johnson County emergency management coordinator Thomas Hansen has resumed this morning.
Prosecutors are continuing their case by interviewing a paramedic who was first to arrive on scene after the fatal shooting. The paramedic said he found Sharon Gerot, 54, lying face down near a riding lawnmower. She had "absolutely no pulse," he said.
Hansen, 72, of Riverside, is accused of shooting Gerot with a semi-automatic handgun on May 1, 2011, according to a criminal complaint. Investigators said the pair had been living together for years and had been arguing earlier that day, according to court records.
The couple was planning to go work at Yellowstone National Park, investigators reported.
Hansen retired as Johnson County's emergency management coordinator in 2007. He worked for the Iowa City Fire Department before that.
Prosecutor Andrew Prosser told a 14-person jury about that admission during opening statements of Hansen's first-degree murder trial on Tuesday.
During open statements on Tuesday, prosecutor Andrew Prosser told the 14-person jury that Hansen, who lived with Gerot, was overhead after the shooting saying that he "just couldn't take it anymore." Prosser said evidence will show what type of gun Hansen used to kill Gerot, where he was standing when he fired the fatal shot and how long Hansen had to "meditate" the killing.
But, defense attorney John Robertson, told jurors that not every killing is first-degree murder and that jurors should keep their minds open as they hear the evidence. Robertson stressed Hansen's cooperation with authorities.
A passerby who saw Gerot lurch backwards and fall from the riding lawnmower said Hansen admitted to the shooting but also advised that he call police. While neighbor Todd Hahn was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher, Hansen helped provide instructions to the house.
Once officers arrived on scene, Hansen did not fight arrest. He put his hands up and was cooperative when taken into custody.