April 24, 2024

Supino leaves Waterloo a free woman after nearly a year in lockup

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WATERLOO — After nearly 6.5 hours of deliberation, jurors found Theresa "Terri" Supino not guilty of two counts of first-degree murder in the March 3, 1983 deaths of her estranged husband Steven Fisher and his girlfriend Melisa Gregory.

Supino broke into tears in the courtroom after the verdict was reached, immediately embracing her son Rocky Supino who has been in the courtroom throughout most of the trial. She also was held by her co-counsel Jill Eimermann who was also in tears following the unanimous decisions from the 12-member jury.

Supino said she wanted to thank the jurors for looking at the evidence and not convicting her on a circumstantial case. After nearly one year of imprisonment, Supino said she plans to spend tonight with her parents, grandchildren and "go to every fast food joint in town."

“I didn’t like it, but you know I had to sit back and listen to it. I knew I was innocent, but I had to listen to the evidence and realize that I wasn't guilty either,” she said. “Now they can just leave me the hell alone.”

After the verdict Supino was handed a phone with her daughter Casey Supino on the line. With a smile, Supino said "Hey, I'm coming home."

Supino said she did not want to verbalize her thoughts toward investigators but was visibly angry toward the Jasper County Sheriff's Office, accusing them of taking 30 years of her life. She accused the department of chalking the case up to entertainment with bringing in the TNT cable show "Cold Justice" to assist with the investigation. She made the comment that she is considering a lawsuit against the television show.

"They wouldn't air the show unless they had someone in custody, and that somebody was me," she said. "Even now I'm not done. I'm going to sue somebody."

The verdict leaves more questions for victims' families and a community left in confusion for nearly 32 years after the brutal killings. Jurors weighed crime scene evidence as well as anecdotal testimony from witnesses close to Supino and the victims for nearly three weeks to clear Supino of killing Fisher, 20, and Gregory, 17 at the Copper Dollar Ranch northwest of Newton.

But Jasper County Attorney Mike Jacobsen and Sheriff John Halferty reiterated during testimony their feelings toward the cold case show. The sheriff said it was about bringing in expertise for a "fresh look."

"I'm not going to apologize for using any means that we can to bring a case to a jury," Jacobsen said. "What they did for us, they helped us organize it. They had the experience. They've tried cases like this before. They've worked cold cases. They know how to go through the evidence and present it appropriately, and we used that resource."

Jacobsen said his office would not have brought charges against Supino if they didn't feel they could get a guilty verdict. He also answered a remaining question toward the state's view of the role of Terri's twin brother Tim Supino in the murders. The state, Jacobsen said, will not likely be bringing charges against Tim Supino — originally considered a suspect and widely rumored to be involved or have knowledge of the murders. Jacobsen said he felt their best case was against Terri Supino.

Halferty said he was disappointed, but felt his office presented the case to the county attorney's office to the best of its ability. He said he fully supports the jury's decision and thinks they did not make a "rush judgment." As of Friday, Halferty said "the case is closed" and there is not an active investigation into the murders. But he also left the door open to entertaining new leads if they become available.

"There are a lot of questions that our community had over the years. There was a lot of rumors a lot of information," Halferty said. "We had a lot of things to wade through over 30 years. Even through 2013, we were doing interviews with potential people with information not related to Ms. Supino."

Jacobsen said there wasn't one separate piece of evidence that was a smoking gun allowing his department to file charges, but he said he felt Supino's pants found with Fisher's DNA in 2013 helped solidify Supino's motive in the case — although he agreed that the evidence never put Supino at the crime scene.

"We put in the best case we could," Jacobsen said. "The jury spent a lot of time, three weeks, they were out 6.5 hours, they considered all the evidence, they were very attentive and we accepted the verdict."

Stick with the Newton Daily News for further trial analysis and reactions from the courtroom.

Contact Mike Mendenhall at mmendenhall@newtondailynews.com