For Release: June 29, 2010
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Despite recantation, Virginia court rules against convicted killer’s innocence in case of murdered college student
- Court says actual innocence not established -
RICHMOND (June 29, 2010) – The Virginia Court of Appeals ruled today against convicted murderer Dustin Turner, holding that his accomplice's confession to a 1995 murder failed to prove that Turner was not also involved in the crime.
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced today, “We are pleased with the court’s decision.”
Navy Seal trainees Turner and Billy Joe Brown were convicted of the 1995 murder of Jennifer Evans, a college student from Georgia vacationing in Virginia Beach. Evans met the two men at a Virginia Beach nightclub and was last seen alive shortly before the nightclub closed as she and Turner walked to the adjoining parking lot. Her decomposed body was found eight days later in a Newport News park, concealed in a wooded area.
Turner and Brown, each of whom gave statements to investigators incriminating the other, were later convicted in separate trials of first degree murder and abduction with intent to defile. Brown was also convicted of attempted rape. In 2002, Brown recanted and gave a recorded statement which asserted that he acted alone in killing Evans. Turner did admit helping Brown dispose of Evans' body.
Thereafter, Turner filed a petition in the Court of Appeals of Virginia seeking to have his convictions vacated under Virginia’s “actual innocence” statutory framework. The Court of Appeals today ruled 8-1 against Turner, holding that he had not met his burden to establish his claim of innocence and that that Brown’s confession failed to prove that Turner was not also involved.
“I want to thank Senior Assistant Attorney General Rob Anderson for his successful work representing the people of the commonwealth in this case,” said Cuccinelli.
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