Third Day of Testimony Begins in Thomas Hansen Murder Trial

By Vanessa Miller, Reporter

WASHINGTON, Iowa - Testimony has resumed again this morning in the first-degree murder trial of former Johnson County Emergency Management coordinator Thomas Hansen.

Hansen's defense team began presenting his case on Wednesday after the prosecution rested its case. His team has called numerous witnesses so far, all of which have spoken mostly to the quality of his character and very little about the actual crime he's accused of committing.

Hansen, 72, of Riverside, is accused of shooting Sharon Gerot, 54, 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.

During open statements, prosecutor Andrew Prosser told the 14-person jury that Hansen, who lived with Gerot, was overheard after the shooting saying that he "just couldn't take it anymore." Prosser and his team presented evidence showing the 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.
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