LOGAN — A judge has ruled that one of the juveniles suspected of shooting Deserae Turner will be bound over for trial, facing six charges including attempted aggravated murder, attempted burglary and obstructing justice. The ruling came Tuesday afternoon in 1st District Court after more than seven-hours of testimony from 11 witnesses and a video of the victim, recorded a week-and-a-half ago in her hospital room.
Cache County Attorney James Swink said the 16-year-old boys planned and premeditated weeks before, to kill the girl. He explained that they shot her in the head after their original plan to slit her throat failed. He told the court the boys then allegedly took Turner’s backpack off her body, along with her cell phone and iPod, and left the girl in the canal to die.
In the video, recorded by Smithfield City Police detective Brandon Muir, Turner said she remembers waking up in a hospital and asking for a blessing. She later described texting and Snap Chatting with one of the defendants, about meeting at the canal to “hang out.” She described it being very muddy at the time, and recalled talking to the suspect about killing people and making tally marks on your arm. At the end, she is heard asking Muir, who shot her and why?
After consulting with Turner’s therapist, it was decided to let the victim’s father, Matt Turner, tell her that police had arrested the two boys. Muir said Deserae appeared surprised when she was told who the suspects were.
While the video played, the accused defendant sat in handcuffs and shackles, looking away from the screen.
Earlier during the hearing, body camera footage was shown, taken from the first officer to arrive on the scene, Brent Stirland. It showed him being led by one of two women who had found Turner. The other woman is seen, lying on top of the girl, attempting to keep her warm. Later you could hear Matt Turner’s voice as he arrived, telling his daughter, “Honey, I’m here.”
Deputy Brian Groves, who interviewed the accused defendant three times, testified that the boy cried at times while confessing to the shooting. Groves said, the defendant described pulling the .22 cal revolver from his left pocket and firing a single shot in the back of Turner’s head, as she walked away. The defendant also told Groves how he originally planned to slit her throat with the co-defendant’s help because it would be quieter.
Groves told the court, the defendant later admitted to luring Turner to the canal by offering to sell her a Buck Knife. He and the co-defendant had also set up the code word, “hey” to use when the victim arrived at the canal. The suspect told Groves, after shooting Turner, they took her backpack, cell phone and iPod.
Other investigating officers later testified to finding the destroyed cell phone and iPod along the canal, near where the shooting took place. The backpack was also located inside a trash can at a nearby park.
Officers also served a search warrant to both defendant’s homes. They found the suspected .22 cal revolver underneath the mattress of the defendant’s brother’s bed. Five bullets and a Buck Knife along with other knives were also found in the defendant’s room.
The defendant told Groves he gave the shell casing, from the bullet used in the shooting, to the co-defendant. Another officer later told the court, they found the suspected casing inside the co-defendant’s bedroom, on his windowsill.
Prosecutors also presented the victim’s medical records and said the bullet remains inside Turner’s skull.
Judge Angela Fonnesbeck said the evidence prosecutors presented showed probable cause that the crimes were committed by the defendant. She ordered that he remain in the Juvenile Detention Center.
Swink has said they still plan to argue that the defendant and co-defendant be tried as adults because of the seriousness of the charges.
Judge Fonnesbeck rescheduled a best interest hearing for May 8-9 when attorneys for both sides will present their arguments on the motion.
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