Heckethorn Murder Trial Continues

By Jason Van Arkel, November 07, 2019

The first-degree murder trial of Jacob Heckethorn continues this week in Wapello County Court.

Heckethorn doesn’t deny that he shot 43-year-old William Shettlesworth on August 23rd, 2018, but he claims it was in self-defense. Heckethorn also faces a charge of attempted murder, as authorities say he tried to shoot Dustin Greene that night.

According to testimony, the incident began as a confrontation between Greene and Eric Fountain, a friend of Heckethorn. Greene admitted to texting Fountain to tell him to stay away from his girlfriend, and soon after, both Heckethorn and Fountain drove up to Greene’s home. The defense says the text was an invitation, and that Greene and Shettlesworth planned to ambush Fountain.

Greene testified that he and Fountain began fighting outside the home, and it was then that Heckethorn pulled out an assault rifle and began firing. Greene contends that he ran back into his house, and that from there, he saw Heckethorn shoot Shettlesworth while his hands were in the air. The defense disputes that account of the shooting, saying that Heckethorn fired in self-defense, and that the wound suffered by Shettlesworth could not have happened if his arms were raised.

After the shooting, Heckethorn and Fountain left the scene together. Heckethorn was arrested a short time later. More testimony in the case is expected through the end of this week.

Heckethorn also faces a separate attempted murder charge, for an incident that happened a week before Shettlesworth was killed. Authorities say Heckethorn shot Clifford Collett, Sr. in the early-morning hours of August 16th of last year, at a home on West Second Street in Ottumwa. The trial in that case is scheduled for February 11th.

Heckethorn would get life in prison without parole if he’s convicted of first-degree murder. The attempted murder charges each carry a maximum sentence of 25 years. He also faces two other trials on felony charges, one for breaking into a pawn shop, and another for stealing a vehicle.

 

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