06/24/2024

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Charges Dismissed Against Dad and Stepmom in 35-Year-Old Murder of 5-Year-Old Boy

Charges Dismissed Against Dad and Stepmom in 35-Year-Old Murder of 5-Year-Old Boy

A South Carolina judge on Friday dismissed the case against a father and stepmother charged earlier this year with killing their 5-year-old son.

Victor Turner and Megan R. Turner were charged in January in the murder of Justin Turner in 1989, as CrimeOnline reported.

Investigators said that Megan Turner, then known as Pamela Turner, told detectives she was in the shower when Justin left to catch the bus to school on March 3, 1989, but he wasn’t on the bus when it came back that afternoon. Turner said she learned that he hadn’t been at school all day.

A search for the boy was launched, and two days later, television cameras were rolling when Victor Turner came out of the family’s camper and declared, “My son’s in there.” Justin was found dead in a cabinet inside the camper.

Megan Turner was charged with killing Justin the following year, according to WCIV, but the charges were dropped when investigators said they didn’t have enough physical evidence to continue the case.

In January, the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office said it had applied “new technology” that led them to charge both Turners with Justin’s murder.

Megan R. Turner and Victor Lee Turner/Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office

But on Friday, Ninth Circuit Court Judge Roger Young dismissed the charges with prejudice — meaning the Turners can’t be charged again.

“The pre-indictment delay caused substantial, actual prejudice to both defendants, infringing upon their rights to a fair trial,” Young wrote in his order. “The prejudice to the defendants far outweighs any reasons for the delay, reasons the State of South Carolina has failed to identify in this case.”

Young wrote that there was no new evidence brought forward, adding that he found no evidence of prosecutorial bad faith. Instead, he said, too many potential witnesses for the defense are either dead or medically unavailable and several pieces of physical evidence that would need testing or analyis no longer exist.

Young’s order followed a hearing in March in which the Turners’ defense argued that the case against their clients was a bad one. On Friday, Megan Turner spoke to reporters, WCBD reported.

“We didn’t do it,” she said. “Every little thing that came up, everybody tried to point in our direction. Nobody ever looked at the actual facts. It’s like a decision was made from day one and that’s the only way it went. People never heard our side of the story.”

Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said in a statement that she could not dispute the court’s findings.

“It is rare that prosecutors can say there is nothing more that could have done to conduct a more thorough investigation, but in this case, we know that Sheriff Lewis and his team of investigators did all they could do to find truth and justice,” she said.

Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis said that Young’s ruling was “not the outcome we were seeking; however, we understand the technicality of prosecuting cases from crimes that occurred years ago.”

A statement from the Turner family, however, said that the “justice system failed an innocent five-year-old boy.”

The Turner family pledged to to never stop fighting for Justin in a statement.

” The truth is there, the justice is not,” the statement said. “My fight for Justin will never stop.”

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[Featured image: Justin Lee Turner/handout]