Image: Theresa “Terri” Supino conversing inside the courtroom (image: Beth Bednar)
The Copper Dollar Ranch story certainly doesn’t rank very high on the national news scale these days. After all, today it is largely the story of the legal machine grinding out justice in a thirty-two year old cold case.
The fact that it’s playing out in a relatively remote area of Iowa doesn’t add much to the news factor. Nevertheless, I am and others are following the case with interest. And last week, Gary Peterson (of FindJodi.com) and I made the trip to the Black Hawk County Courthouse in Waterloo, Iowa, to sit in as courtroom spectators. Gary plans to revisit the courtroom again tomorrow (Tuesday, February 17th. Look for an additional update soon).
The Copper Dollar Ranch murder trial is now in its second week in Black Hawk County, after a change of venue from the Jasper County Court in Newton. This week, the state is continuing its attempt to convince jurors of Terri Supino’s motives in the double homicide case, and the defense team will play out its strategy before the case is put into the hands of the jury. We should hear the jury’s determination within the next couple of week or two.
A case of sordid details
Terri Supino, now 54, is being tried on two murder charges in the 1983 brutal beating deaths of her then-estranged husband, 20 year old Steven Fisher and his girlfriend, 17 year old Melisa Gregory, at the ranch near Newton, Iowa. On this website, I have written about some of the sordid details of the case, including a jealous, often violent lovers’ triangle and the juicy tales of an alleged drug-running ranch owner (you can read more here).
At the very least, it makes for a compelling cautionary tale and a fascinating human interest story. But multiple generations of Newton residents have been held in the grip of the fall-out from the case, and its resulting fear, suspicion and rumors. Whatever decision is reached, it is time this cold case is laid to rest.
Why do we care?
Followers of the Jodi Huisentruit investigation are at least tangentially interested. You’ll recall one of the main players in the Huisentruit case was and still is John Vansice, a man who had relocated from Newton to Mason City, Iowa in the year preceding the disappearance of Jodi in June of 1995. Investigating his past brought us into the orbit of this older and colder case. Further, in August, 2012, Gary and I had the opportunity to personally visit with Terri Supino herself, long before her March, 2014 arrest.
No matter how we feel, this courtroom drama will reach its inevitable conclusion, and no other trials are forthcoming.
No matter what our private convictions, whether Terri walks free or goes back to jail following this jury’s decision, the Copper Dollar file will have to be stamped CASE CLOSED.