June 20, 2024

State delivers closing arguments

Defense to start closing arguments Thursday afternoon

WATERLOO — Prosecutors finished their closing arguments at the Black Hawk County Courthouse Thursday in the double first-degree murder trial of Theresa "Terri" Supino.

First Assistant Jasper County Attorney Scott Nicholson returned jurors to the "puzzle of guilt" the state has been trying to assemble, arguing no one had "better opportunity" combined with motive than Supino to kill her estranged husband Steven Fisher, 20, and his girlfriend, 17-year-old Melisa Gregory, at the former Copper Dollar Ranch northwest of Newton, March 3, 1983.

The floor will be given to defense attorneys Thursday afternoon to make their closing statements. The case will then head to jurors for deliberation.

For 2 hours, Nicholson walked jurors back through two weeks of testimony, making an emphasis on multiple witnesses who heard incriminating statements by Supino before and in the 32 years after the brutal murders.

Prosecutors made sure jurors could clearly understand audio for a possible jailhouse confession recorded at the Jasper County Jail in the days following her arrest. A phone call between the defendant and her brother Tim Supino was recorded and played with subtitles Thursday, after an scratchier version aired last week's during testimony. While discussing her charge documents, Terri Supino said "I killed Steve Fisher, I didn't kill anyone else."

The defense disputes the comment was sarcastic in referring to what Supino called incomplete charge documentation.

Multiple statements from people claiming they heard Supino admitting to "killing someone" with her brother and "getting away with murder once" were also revisited Thursday.

The state attempted to discredit the defense theory that Fisher's knowledge of drug trafficking and contacts of Hal Snedeker — co-owner of the former CDR in 1983 — gave motive to kill the two. Nicholson reminded jurors that Snedeker was not certain to Fisher's role as a police informant until after his death and that the two "were friends."

The prosecutor ended by reminding jurors of their duties defined in jury instructions and to the brutality of the homicides.

"If you are firmly convinced beyond a reasonable doubt then you should find the defendant guilty — firmly convinced," Nicholson said. "...The way these two young people were killed, it's clearly murder in the first degree."

For updates and archived stories on the Copper Dollar Ranch murders, go to newtondailynews.com, follow @NewtonDNews on Twitter and Facebook and see full recaps of trial-related events from Waterloo in the Newton Daily News print edition.

Contact Mike Mendenhall at mmendenhall@newtondailynews.com