Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 19, 2017

State Attorney General’s Office to help murder prosecution

Thomas Hansen trial scheduled to begin Monday
By Andy Hallman | Nov 23, 2012

Thomas Lee Hansen of Riverside is scheduled to stand trial for first-degree murder at the Washington County Courthouse Monday. Jury selection will begin at 9:30 a.m. that morning and the trial will begin immediately thereafter.
Hansen, 72, allegedly shot Sharon Kay Gerot more than 1 ½ years ago on May 1, 2011. The trial date has been delayed five times since its original date of Jan. 24.
The defense and prosecution met one final time before the trial on Wednesday afternoon to finalize pre-trial matters. Hansen’s attorney is John Robertson, a public defender in Iowa City. Robertson’s co-counsel is Dennis Cohen, also a public defender.
Washington County Attorney Larry Brock and Assistant Attorney General Andy Prosser will prosecute the case on behalf of the state.
Robertson filed a motion indicating he will argue Hansen’s actions were justified. Specifically, Hansen will rely on the “defense of justification.” This defense can include self-defense, defense of others, defense of property and defense against forcible felony.  
The prosecution has asked that the defense refrain from asking any witness if he or she believed Hansen shot Gerot in self-defense. The state has argued that this is something the jury must decide and not the witnesses.
Hansen and Gerot, 54, were living together at 1355 Deer Run Drive south of Riverside at the time of Gerot’s death. Documents obtained at the Washington County Courthouse reveal that Hansen and Gerot applied for a marriage license on April 29, 2011, two days before Gerot’s death.
Additional documents indicate that Hansen signed a deed on April 22 of that same year in which he gave joint ownership to Gerot of a 1.4-acre parcel of land, and joint ownership of a lot in Timberline Estates Part II subdivision. The deed gave both parties full rights of survivorship.
According to the affidavit of Washington County Investigator Chad Ellis, Hansen made statements to law enforcement indicating he had shot Gerot and that he had been arguing with Gerot “on and off” on May 1, 2011. Ellis wrote in his affidavit that Hansen shot Gerot while she was riding a lawn mower in an open field behind the residence.
Iowa Code Chapter 704.3 states that a person is justified in the use of reasonable force when the person reasonably believes that such force is necessary to defend oneself or another from any imminent usethe McCreedy Home will also receive a candy turkey.  of unlawful force.
“Reasonable force is that force and no more which a reasonable person, in like circumstances, would judge to be necessary to prevent an injury or loss and can include deadly force if it is reasonable to believe that such force is necessary to avoid injury or risk to one’s life or safety or the life or safety of another, or it is reasonable to believe that such force is necessary to resist a like force or threat,” the code states.
The code states that “deadly force” can include force used for the purpose of causing serious injury or force which the actor knows or reasonably should know will create a strong probability that serious injury will result.

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