Iowa News

Prosecutor urges jurors to convict former official

Defense: Iowa woman killed by 'unlucky shot'

WASHINGTON, Iowa (AP) - The defense lawyer for a retired Iowa public official blames "an unlucky shot" for the death of the man's girlfriend.

Attorney Dennis Cohen told jurors in closing argument Friday that they should find Thomas Hansen guilty only of involuntary manslaughter in the May 1, 2011, shooting of Sharon Gerot. Cohen says jurors should reject the charge of first degree murder because Hansen didn't intend to kill Gerot when he fired a single shot that went through her left temple while she was riding a lawn mower 70 feet away.

Cohen says Hansen fired the gun out of anger after being physically and verbally abused by Gerot.

Earlier, Washington County Attorney Larry Brock argued that Hansen intended to kill Gerot.

Jurors started deliberating Friday after a weeklong trial.


A prosecutor is urging jurors to convict a retired public official of first degree murder for shooting his girlfriend while she was riding a lawn mower behind their eastern Iowa home.

Washington County attorney Larry Brock says in closing argument Friday that Thomas Hansen intended to kill Sharon Gerot when he fired a handgun from their back porch in Riverside on May 1, 2011.

Brock says jurors shouldn't give Hansen a break because of his distinguished career in public service. Hansen served as a top Iowa City fire department official and then as Johnson County's emergency management coordinator before retiring in 2007.

Hansen says he fired a shot meant to scare Gerot after she had physically abused him during an argument.

A defense lawyer will give closing argument later Friday.

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