The Dateline episode “The Farm” investigates the June 19, 2015 murder of Shirley Carter. The 68-year-old wife and mother was shot dead in her rural home outside of Pleasantville, Iowa. Dateline reporter Dennis Murphy interviews Shirley’s widow Bill Carter, who was just a few miles away from home when he got the call from his daughter telling him his wife was dead. “My life ended that day,” Carter tells Murphy. Murphy reports: “There was something Shakespearian brewing in these corn fields, something out of the Old Testament.”
Two years after the murder, Bill Carter sued his son Jason Carter, 45, contending it was the only way he and his family (who suspected Jason of killing Shirley) could find justice. In 2017, a civil jury found Jason responsible for his mother’s death and decided he must pay $10 million to the estate of his mother. Two days later, Jason was charged with first-degree murder in a criminal case. On January 31, 2018, Jason Carter pleaded not guilty. His lawyers contend Jason didn’t have a motive and say it was Bill who killed Shirley. They are filing a motion to ask a judge to overturn the civil court jury’s verdict and order a new trial. The murder weapon has not been found. Jason Carter was released after posting 10 percent of his $1 million bond. He turned in his passport and is required to wear a GPS monitor. Dateline airs Fridays at 10pm on ABC.