NEWTON — A Jasper County jury only took two and half hours on Tuesday to find Dustin Jefferson guilty of helping his mother kill his wife in 2013.
This was the third trial for Dustin Jefferson, 40, who was originally charged in Tama County District Court. However, the retrial was moved to Jasper County after his last trial in October ended in a hung jury.
Jefferson was convicted of aiding and abetting in first-degree murder and faces life in prison without parole. According to testimony, he helped his mother, Ginger Jefferson, 59, kill his wife, Kerry O’Clair Jefferson, 32, on Sept. 25, 2013. O’Clair Jefferson had called police the day she was killed to turn in her husband, who had an outstanding warrant in another case, accusing him of sexual assault.
Ginger Jefferson was convicted of first-degree murder in 2014. Testimony at her trial showed she stabbed her daughter-in-law twice in the neck. Kerry died from two fatal wounds to the neck and also suffered blunt force injuries to her face and head.
After 6th Judicial District Judge Mary Chicchelly read the verdict, Marlene O’Clair, Kerry’s mother, said she was “relieved,” according to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. O’Clair and many members of the family had attended all the trials.
Dustin Jefferson, who showed little emotion during the trial, shook his head back and forth as the verdict was read, according to the Courier.
Dustin Jefferson’s first trial ended in a mistrial during jury selection after his lawyer argued the jury pool lacked representation of Native Americans. Jefferson is a member of the Meskwaki Settlement in Tama.
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The retrial last October ended in a mistrial with the jury deadlocked at 11 to 1 in favor of guilty. The defense then asked for the retrial to be moved out of Tama County based on a limited jury pool.
The defense also argued there had been extensive “prejudicial” news coverage by The Gazette and the Courier about the last mistrial, as well as facts that came out in the trial regarding Jefferson’s pending sexual abuse charges.
Jefferson will be sentenced April 28 in Tama County District Court.