A Scott County jury Friday found Robert E. Carter guilty of murder and burglary in the July 2015 death of Claude Hanson.
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A Scott County jury will begin deliberations Friday morning in the first-degree murder and burglary trial of Robert E. Carter.
Following an afternoon of closing arguments and instructions, the jury of nine women and three men selected a jury foreperson before they were dismissed for the day by presiding Judge Mary Howes.
Assistant Scott County Attorneys Amy DeVine and Blake Norman rested their case Thursday morning after calling two final witnesses.
Defense attorneys Mike Adams and Jill Eimermann rested their case without calling any witnesses, including Carter.
Defendants do not have to present any evidence or testify on their own behalf because the burden of proof is on prosecutors.
Prosecutors argued during the trial that Carter, 55, attacked Claude S. Hanson in his apartment at 3831 Bridge Ave., Davenport, the night of July 15, 2015.
Hanson had just returned to his apartment from the apartment complex's nearby laundry room when a man threw a blanket or sheet over his head, stabbed him and took cash out of his wallet.
Hanson was able to find his phone and call 911. He was taken to Genesis Medical Center-East Rusholme Street, Davenport, where he underwent two emergency surgeries.
He died July 21, 2015, from complications from the stab wound to his abdomen.
DeVine told jurors in her closing argument that Hanson’s attacker was not someone who happened to be walking by and “stumbled upon” Hanson’s unlocked apartment.
“It had to have been someone from the inside, watching Claude go back and forth,” she said. “Waiting for their chance to enter his apartment and waiting for him and attacking him and robbing him the minute Claude got back inside his apartment.”
Carter lived just two doors down from Hanson and his apartment was directly across from the laundry room, which had a window with no blinds or shades.
Although Hanson was not able to identify his attacker, DeVine argued that blood DNA found on items in the apartment pointed to Carter.
Those items included Hanson’s wallet, the inside of his sweatshirt jacket and doorknob on the front door. A criminalist with the state crime lab testified Wednesday that Carter could not be excluded as a contributor to DNA found underneath the fingernails of Hanson’s right hand.
“That DNA evidence found inside Claude’s apartment is exactly in the places you would expect it to be when you know what happened inside that apartment,” DeVine said.
She further argued that Carter likely cut his hand on the knife when he was stabbing Hanson, which would explain why his blood was found on the items.
Adams told jurors in his closing argument that there were no eyewitnesses who said they saw Carter kill Hanson or video of the attack, nor were his fingerprints found at the scene.
Adams disputed the DNA evidence and suggested that there may have been cross-contamination. He said that no one had testified that Hanson and Carter had never met before July 15, 2015.
“Did anyone prove to you that Mr. Carter’s DNA was not left at Mr. Hanson’s apartment in an innocent manner? In an innocent non-criminal manner?” he asked. “I submit to you that nobody has done that.”
Adams also questioned the integrity of the crime scene, saying that items were moved in the apartment and that people were “in and out of the crime scene.”
“It was uncontrolled,” he said.
In her rebuttal argument, DeVine said that it had been chaotic in the apartment because medical personnel’s primary purpose was to save Hanson.
They were not there to touch the wallet, or the inner pocket of the sweatshirt, or underneath Hanson’s fingernails, she argued.