Local News South Carolina

5-year-old was Found Dead in Cabinet in South Carolina; Judge Drops Charges against Accused Parents in Cold Case Mystery

5-year-old was Found Dead in Cabinet in South Carolina; Judge Drops Charges against Accused Parents in Cold Case Mystery

A judge in South Carolina has dismissed the case against a father and stepmother charged in the murder of their 5-year-old son. The judge cited various factors related to the significant amount of time that has passed since the boy’s death.

Judge Roger M. Young Sr. officially dropped the murder charges against Victor and Megan Turner in connection with the 1989 killing of Justin Turner.

The case has been dismissed “with prejudice,” which prevents prosecutors from pursuing the same charges against the Turners in the future.

Court documents reveal that Young argued that the parents’ right to a fair trial was violated due to the 35-year delay in bringing the charges and the lack of new evidence from law enforcement.

In the ruling, Young emphasized that the delay in this case has caused significant prejudice to the defendants, and the State of South Carolina has failed to provide any valid reasons for this delay.

Interestingly, the court apparently found no wrongdoing in the way prosecutors and police handled the case, but highlighted the unique circumstances surrounding Justin Turner’s death.

Sheriff Lewis expressed gratitude towards the solicitor’s office and acknowledged that the outcome was not what they had hoped for. He recognized the challenges of prosecuting crimes that took place many years ago.

As reported earlier by Law&Crime, it is believed that Justin disappeared on March 3, 1989, while on his way to a friend’s house to catch the bus for school. Megan Turner, formerly known as Pamela Turner, informed authorities that she was not feeling well on that particular day. As a result, she decided to stay at home instead of accompanying her stepson to the bus, which was her usual routine.

“That afternoon, when Pamela Turner went to meet the school bus, she discovered that Justin was not on it and had not attended school that day,” stated the sheriff’s office in a previous news release. Justin’s neighbor, who was supposed to meet him that morning, went outside with her grandson to meet the bus. However, she did not see Justin that morning.

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It was later discovered that Justin did not reach the bus stop that morning and was not present at school.

After an extensive search involving multiple agencies and dedicated volunteers, the lifeless body of the boy was discovered by Victor Turner inside a camper on the residence’s yard. After further examination, it was concluded that Justin’s death was a result of ligature strangulation, leading to the classification of his death as a homicide. Authorities also reported that he had experienced sexual assault involving a cylindrical object.

Authorities stated that the Turners displayed clear and intentional behavior, indicating their knowledge of Justin’s hidden body. The documents also provided information about Victor Turner’s behavior after he found his son’s body.

Instead of immediately searching for signs of life in the camper, Victor Turner chose to step back and simply stated, “He’s in there, my son is in there.” According to a warrant, someone has allegedly caused harm to him.(Victor Turner) later informed investigators that the individual appeared lifeless. I sensed a disturbance in him. “I did NOT touch him.'”

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According to reports, Victor Turner made statements that raised suspicion before the body was found. He reportedly asked authorities about the consequences if a family member had caused harm to the victim, including killing him.

“The authorities noted a clear understanding of Justin’s fate before finding his body, as evident from the question posed,” stated the authorities.

After the body was discovered, it took about nine months for Justin’s stepmother to be indicted by a grand jury and charged with his murder. However, the charges were later dropped by prosecutors due to a lack of evidence.

The sheriff’s office announced that its Cold Case Unit has recently reopened the case and is now reevaluating evidence using advanced technology that was not accessible during the time of Justin’s murder.

We possess a substantial amount of forensic evidence. Sheriff Duane Lewis highlighted the role of advanced technology and forensic medicine during a news conference on Wednesday afternoon. “We have made significant progress over the years, tirelessly working towards our goal of making an arrest.”

Lewis expressed his deep sorrow over a particularly devastating murder, emphasizing the tragic nature of the incident. He also mentioned that the Turners, the parents of the victim, have distanced themselves from the community, relocating and severing ties with others.

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