A jury of nine women and three men was seated in the 1st degree murder trial of Ginger Lea Jefferson in Tama County District Court in Toledo on Tuesday, May 20. Jury selection had begun on Monday.
Jefferson, 57, of Toledo, is accused of the stabbing death of her daughter-in-law-Kerry Lea Jefferson, 32, on Sept. 25, 2013, at a residence in Tama.
Defense attorneys raised objections the jury did not include any Native Americans but Judge Stephen Jackson Jr. ruled the jury had been selected under proper procedure.
EFT- Ginger Jefferson stands near the defense table during a break in her trial in the Tama County District Courtroom in Toledo on Tuesday afternoon, May 20. Jefferson, 57, faces a 1st degree murder charge in the death of her daughter-in-law, Kerry O’Clair-Jefferson, 32.
Court media pool photo/
Dennis Magee/Waterloo Courier
In an opening statement Tuesday afternoon, Assistant Iowa Attorney General Laura Roan told the jury Jefferson "plunged a knife two different times into her daughter-in-law's neck." Roan contended Ginger Jefferson "confessed to (the crime) at least two times."
Roan and Tama County Attorney Brent Heeren are prosecuting the case.
Roan said O'Clair-Jefferson, her husband, Dustin Jefferson, Ginger Jefferson and Dustin's sister, Sahara, were drinking alcohol that day. She said O'Clair-Jefferson had or was going to notify Meskwaki Nation Tribal Police of Dustin's whereabouts because there was a warrant for him on sex abuse charges.
Roan said there was a 10-12 minute time span involved in the crime and notifications.
That 10-minute time is what Ginger Jefferson's defense attorney, Mike Jones, said in his opening statement "is what the case is all about on Sept. 25, 2013."
"It's 10 minutes we don't know about and will never learn about," Jones, a public defender said. He said "This is the reason Ginger Jefferson can't be found guilty."
Aaron Siebrecht is a second public defender also representing Ginger Jefferson.
The first witness took the stand on Tuesday afternoon for the prosecution in the trial which court officials aid could take eight days.
Tammy Navvara testified Ginger Jefferson came to her home in Tama that afternoon with blood on her hands and admitted to the crime.
She testified Jefferson was seeking money for a bus ticket to "get out of town."
She also recounted Jefferson appeared to be intoxicated and "fell backwards" while in Navvara's kitchen.
Navvara was questioned about her earlier deposition in which she had stated her front door was locked and testimony on Tuesday which said Ginger Jefferson came into her house through the front door.
Navvara said she apparent didn't hear the question correctly during the deposition.
About 15 people were in the courtroom Tuesday afternoon. Those neenteringere required to pass through a memetaletector.
Four Tama County deputy sheriffs were sastationed around the courtroom during the proceedings.