A cosplay model who claims she stabbed her fiance to death in self-defense has been found guilty of second-degree murder after jurors heard she waited four hours for help.
Melissa Turner29 years old, currently facing the possibility of jail time for the fatal stabbing of a 25 year old in October 2018 Matthew Trussler. The judges in the case discussed just a day after the weeklong trial, which saw Turner make his defense stand. Turner’s attorney told Law & Crime that an appeal went into effect just hours after her conviction.
The jury asked only one question during the course of the deliberation, sending a note to the judge at 2:53 p.m. Friday asking for a “clearer (layman term) definition of ‘mind. corrupt’?” The state of Florida defines second-degree murder as:
The unlawful killing, when carried out by any act, is imminently dangerous to others and corrupts the mind in spite of one’s life, though without any prior intention to do so. resulting in the death of any particular individual…
The jurors were given the choice of convicting Turner of second-degree murder, manslaughter, aggravated activation, or returning a not guilty verdict. After the jurors agreed on a charge of second-degree murder, they then had to determine that Turner had “personally brought, displayed, used, threatened or attempted to use a weapon.” The judges agreed that she did, giving her a final verdict of second-degree murder with a weapon.
Turner was offered a plea agreement in the case shortly before trial. Prosecutors with State Attorney’s Office for Judicial District 13 However, documents were filed in Hillsborough County Court stating that the respondent refused their 25-year prison sentence. In court filings, Turner and her attorney tried to counter that by saying they would receive a five-year sentence, but prosecutors rejected that offer.
The day before being sentenced, a Turner stood up tearfully to describe what she claims happened the night Trussler died. She swore under oath that Trussler strangled her after the fight between the two turned bitter and that in an attempt to save her life, she took a knife he had placed in the counter and stabbed him in the back. The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office would later determine that the back wound was fatal.
Trussler’s autopsy revealed several injuries that did not seem to match Turner’s account, namely “defensive wound on right forearm”, “large laceration in right upper biceps” and ” Small tear in the center of the chest. Prosecutors used this to bolster their case, coupled with the fact that Turner was covered in Trussler’s blood as members of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the scene that morning. Furthermore, one of those investigators proved to be the main witness for the prosecution: Detective Ryan Lagasse.
Detective Lagasse travels around the neighborhood after arriving at the house Turner shared with Trussler on the day of the fatal incident. He told jurors that while out in the area, he discovered one of Turner’s neighbors had a surveillance camera. Unfortunately, that camera failed to capture any video of the incident but did capture Turner arguing with Trussler around the time of his death. The jurors then heard the timestamp audio mentioned for the first time in the case report:
At about 04:32, a suspected female voice appeared saying, “you stay.” At about 0433 hours, a noise was recorded, corresponding to the breaking of glass. About 45 seconds later, a suspected female voice appeared saying, “Damn it.” At around 4:35 a.m., a suspected female voice appeared saying, “I hate you.” About 32 seconds later, the suspected female voice then said, “get up” several times. At about 0437 a.m., a noise was heard, like smashing, followed by screams and a female voice again saying, “Wake up.” At about 0437 o’clock, a female voice said: “So arrogant, I hate you.” At about 04:39, a female voice was heard repeatedly saying: “Make love to yourself”. At about 4:40 a.m., a female voice said, “Let’s go.” At about 0442 o’clock, a female voice was again heard saying “Fuck”. At about 0443 o’clock, additional “clacking” noises were heard and a male voice could be heard, but it was not clear what was being said. At about 0444 hours, additional scuffles were heard, including a suspected female voice shouting, “No!” At about 4:45 a.m., a female voice rang out, possibly saying, “What did I do?”
The prosecution built its case on that audio and revealed that Turner waited four hours to notify authorities after stabbing Trussler.
Law & Crime spoke with Turner’s attorney John Trevena about the audio before sentencing. He confirmed that the woman heard in the video was Turner but had issues with the way prosecutors presented evidence.
Trevena explained: “We have a number of issues that support why we believe the jury should conclude that Mrs Turner is not guilty. “These issues include the testimony of our audio/video expert Bruce Koenig that a Nest audio/video recording from a neighbor across the street was manipulated. [by prosecutors] in some areas selected to amplify the volume to make it sound like Ms. Turner screaming much louder and parts where the alleged victim was speaking were completely inaudible. Further, it is a matter of self-defense and the heat of passion. ”
Trevena did not say when Turner would file an appeal against the case, but the two will return to court May 18 for a hearing.
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https://lawandcrime.com/crime/melissa-turner-guilty-stabbing-fiance-murder-matthew-trussler/ Melissa Turner found the murder of Matthew Trussler