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MARITAL SPAT LED TO AN EVENING OF TERROR AND DEATH

Tina Harmon grabbed four frightened young children and hid them under the bathroom sink when an armed Gary Edward Iverson came looking for his wife.

Minutes later Harmon's uncle walked past her, saying he was going outside to talk to Iverson and to try and calm him down."I told him, `Jim, don't open the door!' When he opened the door he got shot."

Iverson was ordered Thursday to stand trial for murder and aggravated burglary, both first-degree felonies, in connection with the shooting death of Jimmy Dean Dale on July 17.

Moments before, Iverson had been pinned against the wall of the Magna home at 2805 S. 9150 West by a pickup truck. Dale was shot once in the stomach as he walked through the doorway.

"I looked over and Jimmy Dean Dale is standing in the doorway. I seen Gary. His arm goes up and the gun goes off," testified Catherine Iverson, Gary Iverson's wife, at the preliminary hearing. She said the men were only 3 or 4 feet apart.

The chaotic evening began hours earlier when Catherine Iverson, neighbor Tina Harmon and their children were outside sunbathing. The Iversons got into a fight, and Gary Iverson pushed and shoved his wife and grabbed her by the neck.

"He was at the point when I didn't think he would calm down," Iverson said of her husband. She and her five children, along with Harmon and her daughter, decided to leave.

Later that evening, Gary Iverson went to Harmon's nearby home looking for his wife. Jimmy Lee Harmon went outside to talk to Gary Iverson, who was crying and upset. "I told him he was drunk and to go home," Jimmy Harmon testified. "I can't let you go in. She doesn't want you here."

Gary Iverson left, but returned about 10 minutes later."I seen him walking up the driveway and Gary kicked the door open," Catherine Iverson said. "Then I saw his arm stretched out with a gun."

The children in the house began screaming while Jimmy Harmon came downstairs to confront the gunman.

"He told me he was going to shoot me. I told him he didn't have the (guts)," Jimmy Harmon said.

"And come to find out, he didn't shoot you, did he?" asked defense attorney Lynn Brown.

"Not me, but an innocent bystander," Harmon replied.

Catherine Iverson said she kept her youngest children down on the ground while her armed husband approached her in the living room. "Gary walked over to me, grabs my arm, asks me not to do this, to come home," she recalled.

After she refused to go home, Gary Iverson went back outside.

Jimmy Harmon said he tried to coax the gun away, but to no avail. Gary Iverson then followed Harmon as he got into his pickup truck. "He comes up to the window and points the gun at me again. He told me he's going to blow my brains out," Jimmy Harmon testified.

Gary Iverson then began heading back toward the door of the house. "I stuck my truck in first gear and ran him over. It was the only way I could think of to stop him," Harmon said. "When I hit him, it scared me. I thought I'd killed him."

"I heard one of the kids yelling, `Jimmy just hit dad!"' Catherine Iverson said. "We felt the house shake and heard the truck backing away."

Gary Iverson apparently staggered, but was able to get up as Jimmy Harmon backed up and drove the truck to a friend's house. When he returned a few minutes later, he discovered that Dale had been shot. Dale was taken by helicopter to a hospital, where he died shortly thereafter.

The weapon was a .357 Ruger handgun. It has a double action, requiring the gun to be cocked before it can be shot. Catherine Iverson said she noticed the gun was cocked when her husband first pointed it at Jimmy Harmon.

Ironically, Catherine Iverson said her husband and the victim were friends who went fishing together, held barbecues together and often spent time together.

Iverson entered a not-guilty plea to the charges and was ordered to appear before 3rd District Judge Pat Brian on Sept. 9.