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Thread: Joshua Abraham Turnidge - Oregon Death Row

  1. #1
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Joshua Abraham Turnidge - Oregon Death Row

    Full trial coverage here

    Bruce and Joshua Turnidge get death penalty in Woodburn bank bombing

    The father and son convicted in the bomb explosion that killed two police officers at a Woodburn bank should both be put to death, a jury decided today.

    The unanimous decision by the jury of nine women and three men men, makes Bruce Turnidge and his son, Joshua Turnidge, the 35th and 36th inmates of Oregon’s death row. The Oregon Supreme Court will automatically review the decision to impose a death.

    Joshua Turnidge's expression didn't change as Marion County Circuit Judge Thomas Hart read the verdict. His father's back was to the camera so his expression wasn't visible.

    Jurors earlier this month convicted both men of aggravated murder in the blast at a West Coast Bank branch. The officers were trying to dismantle a bomb planted as part of a robbery attempt when it went off inside the bank on Dec. 12, 2008.

    The jury deliberated about four hours today and Tuesday on Joshua Turnidge’s sentence and less than five hours for his father last week. The verdict for Bruce Turnidge was held under seal pending a decision on his son’s sentence.

    Jurors also could have sentenced the men to life in prison without parole or life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years.

    The sentencing verdicts cap a two-part trial for Bruce Turnidge, 59, and Joshua Turnidge, 34, that began Sept. 29.

    Jurors on Dec. 8 found the two men guilty of 18 counts each of aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder and other charges stemming from the bombing. In the second phase of the trial, they have been hearing testimony on whether the men should get the death penalty for their crimes.

    The trial traced the story of a father and son, perpetually strapped for cash, who were facing yet another business failure as their biodiesel company bled money. The two men were also vocal about their anti-government and anti-police sentiment, and believed the Obama administration would increase restrictions on their right to bear arms.

    The pressure they felt was enough to prompt the Turnidges to put in place a long-held bank-robbery fantasy, prosecutors said, and on Dec. 12, 2008, the men planted a bomb outside the West Coast Bank.

    The robbery plot went awry however. And later that evening, the bomb exploded when police officers, believing the device to be a hoax, moved it inside the bank and tried to take it apart. The blast killed Oregon State Police Senior Trooper William Hakim and Woodburn Police Capt. Tom Tennant.

    The blast critically injured Woodburn Police Chief Scott Russell, who lost his leg. Bank employee Laurie Perkett was also wounded.

    Prosecutors told jurors that the two men would pose a continuing threat to society — even in prison.

    Their crime of killing police officers gives them instant status in prison, they said. Other inmates would seek out their bomb-making knowledge for their own use once they're released.

    But prosecutors also used the Turnidges' views –- described as anti-government, anti-authority and racist –- as reasons to sentence the men to death.

    The bombing, they said, was Bruce Turnidge's “Timothy McVeigh moment,” referring to the Oklahoma City bomber that they contended was a hero to the older man.

    “The only sentence that will silence Bruce Turnidge’s beliefs and his mind is a sentence of death,” Marion County Deputy District Attorney Katie Suver said.

    And the son's “hate-filled beliefs,” financial scheming and resistance to authority made him dangerous to keep in the general prison population, said prosecutor Matt Kemmy.

    But defense attorneys said that neither Bruce Turnidge nor Joshua Turnidge was ever imprisoned before and accused the state of throwing mud at the defendants with stale episodes and remarks that they allegedly made decades earlier in some cases.

    “The death penalty must be reserved for the worst of the worst,” said defense attorney Steven Gorham. “The facts of the crime and the totality of the evidence presented for and against Joshua Turnidge show that putting him to death would be in the name of vengeance alone, not justice.”

    They also argued that neither Turnidge personally detonated the bomb and that it had been abandoned when the “idiotic bank robbery plan” went wrong.

    It was Hakim, they said, who was banging on the bomb with a hammer and prying it open with a crowbar, showed recklessness in handling the device. A witness testified that the bomb went off just as Hakim said, “There, I got it” and was opening the sealed portion that included the explosive.

    The state had argued that Hakim wasn’t to blame. Prosecutors contended that an unknown transmission from an unknown source communicated with the remote-control bomb at the exact moment that Hakim had apparently pried open the device.


  2. #2
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    Woodburn Residents React To Bank Bomb Sentences

    A sense of relief is what people in Woodburn describe after hearing the case of a fatal bank bombing has reached a conclusion.

    Joshua Turnidge and his father, Bruce Turnidge, placed the bomb at a West Coast Bank in Woodburn in December 2008. The explosion killed a state police bomb technician and a Woodburn police captain.

    A Marion County jury recommended the death penalty for both men Wednesday.

    While there is mixed emotion over the sentences, most people FOX 12 spoke to expressed satisfaction that the trial is over.

    Xavier Carbajal said he doesnt believe there are any winners in the case.

    I feel sorry for their (the Turnidges') families. They have mothers, sons and wives, too," Carbajal said. "They (the Turnidges) need God in their lives. They veered off and now have to suffer the consequences.

    Betty Stuchlik lives near the bank where the bomb exploded. She said she was with a group of neighbors having tea when they got word jurors recommended Joshua and Bruce Turnidge receive death sentences.

    Somebody called and said the death sentences went through and everyone agreed with that, Stuchlik said.

    Other community members said now the trial is over, they hope the community can finally move on and heal from the tragedy.


  3. #3
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    Media, onlookers jockey for space at Turnidge trial

    More than a dozen reporters, photographers and TV journalists camped out in front of the Marion County Courthouse about noon Wednesday to await the sentencing verdict in the Woodburn bank bombing trial.

    Everyone who entered or exited the building had to walk around the wall of media members standing poised to capture the announcement of the jury's verdicts for Bruce and Joshua Turnidge in the Woodburn bombing trial.

    A handful of others gathered to hear the news, including two sisters who took a break from Christmas shopping to find out the latest. They followed the trial in the newspaper and attended a couple of proceedings.

    The sisters became emotional when they heard the first verdict announced — the jury recommended that Joshua Turnidge receive the death penalty.

    "It would be hard for those jurors to do that to somebody," Linda McCarty said, her voice breaking, "but they received a fair trial."

    Salem resident Guy Kampstra watched the final proceedings from the courtroom. He attended almost every day of the trial, he said.

    "If I was on the jury, I would say death penalty, too, so they don't have access to extra privileges, which is what I learned the difference was."

    Kampstra doesn't think the death sentence will get carried out.

    "I think they'll just die in prison along with the rest of the lifers," he said.

    Journalists swarmed the front entrance and outside the fenced-in parking garage at the back of the courthouse to catch a glimpse of family, jurors or officials.

    One person who was driving by stopped and asked the throng whether the Turnidges got the death penalty. Upon hearing the news, the driver pumped his fist in support of the outcome.

    Jurors got out of the building without talking to reporters. The defendants were taken out a side entrance and placed in police cars.

    A caravan of four police cars, with sirens blaring, turned on State Street and took the Turnidges away.


  4. #4
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    Turnidge jurors discuss death-penalty trial

    After hearing months of evidence, there was little doubt about the guilt of Bruce Turnidge, according to jurors who last month recommended that he be sentenced to death.

    And Joshua Turnidge's apparent lack of remorse and arrogant testimony during the aggravated-murder trial sealed his fate, jurors said.

    Those jurors unanimously decided after a three-month trial that concluded Dec. 22 that Bruce and Joshua Turnidge, father and son, should die for the deadly 2008 Woodburn bank bombing.

    Six of the 12 jurors told the Statesman Journal on Wednesday and Thursday that the defendants' lack of remorse and an abundance of evidence against them guided their decisions.

    "There was just a lot of evidence and testimony that really played into each other," juror Tasha Hobbs said. "In the end, it was a hard decision. It's a hard decision when you're trying to decide someone's life."

    Juror Stephanie Deprima said it was physical evidence — of matching metal fragments from the bomb scene and Bruce Turnidge's house — and a map of cell phone calls tracing the Turnidges to the Woodburn area the day of the bombing that were key.

    Juror Carina Perez-Europa said testimony from ATF Agent Phil Whitley, who reconstructed the bomb, was key because it explained how the device worked. Although she at first doubted the Turnidges were involved, that testimony proved their intent, Perez-Europa said.

    Many of the jurors who spoke with the Statesman Journal acknowledged that Oregon State Police Trooper William Hakim, who thought the bomb was a hoax device and took it inside West Coast Bank where it exploded, made a mistake. But they didn't blame Hakim, as defense attorneys had asked.

    "It doesn't make it right for someone to build a bomb and leave it there," Hobbs said.

    Certain tactics taken by defense lawyers insulted the jurors, they said. Those included efforts to portray Joshua Turnidge as a good father even though he didn't have custody of his daughter, and presenting expert witnesses who said the bomb was not designed to kill people.

    Another piece, I don't know if it was evidence or more a gut feeling, was the wife," Deprima said about Janet Turnidge, Bruce Turnidge's wife. "She didn't even plead for the lives of her son or her husband. … I just got some feeling that she had some kind of insight into what monsters they were."

    Perez-Europa said she was surprised the father-son duo didn't react when seeing videos or photos of damage at the bank. Hobbs agreed.

    "I think up until the end, they really thought they were going to be able to get away with it, or things were going to slide more in their direction," she said. "I was surprised when the verdict was read there was no reaction."

    Deprima said she wanted to sentence the Turnidges to life in prison but saw no signs of remorse or compassion.

    "They showed me nothing I thought I could take into the deliberation and fight for them," she said. "I wanted to so badly, but I couldn't."

    Bruce Turnidge chose not to testify in his defense, but his son did testify, and it injured his case, jurors said.

    Several jurors said Joshua Turnidge seemed arrogant when telling a joke that insulted police officers as part of his testimony.

    Jurors said choosing the death sentence for Bruce Turnidge, 59, wasn't as difficult as choosing the same for Joshua Turnidge, 34, because they didn't think the son would have followers like his father might have in prison.

    Hobbs said that if she could say anything to the Turnidges, she'd ask them a question: Was it worth it?

    Jurors refuted suggestions that the quickly reached verdicts were reflections that they were easy decisions. They deliberated the sentences of Bruce and Joshua Turnidge separately but took less than five hours each time.

    "It was not an easy process, and it was not a slam-dunk," presiding juror Charlie Peterson said. "I think in the end, if you ask each juror, they voted how they wanted to vote, not how they thought they were supposed to vote."

    Peterson said he felt like the justice system worked and that Bruce Turnidge, whom trial witnesses described as a Constitutionalist, should feel the same.

    "He has to believe the process that was just completed was fair and just. We followed the Constitution, and we did the things we were supposed to do."

    Jurors said they approached the extended trial as a civic duty and with integrity.

    "I feel that these defendants were treated as they were innocent until proven guilty," said juror Jill Brueckner. Choosing a death sentence "is the hardest decision I've had to make."

    Jurors weren't allowed to discuss with anyone what they saw and heard while the trial dragged on, which in part led to physical and emotional exhaustion. One of the most difficult moments was seeing gruesome photos of the destruction in the bank and listening to emotional testimony from law enforcement officers, including Woodburn Police Chief Scott Russell, who was severely wounded in the bombing, and the victims' family members.

    "Those families have been through a lot, and they deserve some peace now," Brueckner said.

    Jurors coped with the stress of their decision by exercising on lunch breaks, writing poetry and reading cards thanking them for their jury service.

    Perez-Europa said she still has flashbacks about the trial and is physically affected. Recently, she was watching the action-drama "NCIS" on TV when they showed pictures of people killed in an explosion.

    "I just became emotionally anxious and I had to turn off the TV," Perez-Europa said. "It will just kind of come back to you in a moment. … Your mind is somewhere else, and then you're thinking about the decisions you made."


  5. #5
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    Sentencing Monday in Woodburn bank bombing

    SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- The father and son convicted of killing two police officers in a bank bombing two years ago are to be formally sentenced Monday in Marion County Circuit Court.

    Judge Thomas Hart is to sentence Bruce and Joshua Turnidge to death. A jury last month unanimously agreed the state should impose the death penalty.

    The two were convicted in December of aggravated first-degree murder and other charges for planting a homemade bomb at the West Coast Bank in Woodburn. The bomb killed state police bomb technician William Hakim and Woodburn Police Capt. Tom Tennant.

    Their case will automatically go to the Oregon Supreme Court for review.


  6. #6
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    Judge sentences Bruce and Joshua Turnidge to death for bombing

    Bruce and Joshua Turnidge were sentenced to death this afternoon for the deadly 2008 Woodburn bank bombing.

    Marion County Judge Thomas Hart signed death warrants for each man this afternoon.

    “This was as serious an offense as you will ever find,” Hart said. “It was selfish act of an individual combined together with two individuals in order to achieve something they thought belonged to them.”

    Bruce Turnidge spoke for the first time in the trial, criticizing the investigation by police, evidence presented in trial and the decision by the jury.

    He said law enforcement fabricated evidence used to convict him, including a Tovex explosive wrapper found at his Jefferson property and connected to bomb fragments.

    “I think they had to do that because they had no evidence against me and they knew it and they were getting desperate,” Bruce Turnidge said. He called the state’s case “laughable.”

    “I think there’s a whole lot about this case that needs to be investigated, it needs to be looked in to,” Bruce Turnidge said.

    Joshua Turnidge also spoke, using an even tone and denying his involvement in the bombing.

    He said he respected the justice system but believed mistakes were made in the case that lead to the jury’s decision.

    “I must respectfully disagree with their verdict. This case hinged on my knowledge and participation in a particular event.”

    Joshua Turnidge said “as God as my witness” he was not involved in the bombing.

    Bruce and Joshua Turnidge will be taken directly to the Oregon Department of Corrections. They will be the 35th and 36th men on death row.


  7. #7
    Senior Member CnCP Legend Mike's Avatar
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    Oregon Supreme Court upholds death sentences in Woodburn bank bombing

    SALEM, Ore. -- The Oregon Supreme Court unanimously upheld the death penalty for two men who set off a bomb at a Woodburn bank in 2008, killing two people and injuring two others.

    Bruce Turnidge, 63, and his son, Joshua Turnidge, 38, are on Oregon's death row after they were convicted in 2010. The explosion killed state police bomb technician William Hakim and Woodburn Police Capt. Tom Tennant.

    Woodburn's police chief, Scott Russell, lost a leg, and a bank employee was wounded.

    The Turnidges planned a bank robbery, built the bomb, left it outside the West Coast Bank and called in a bomb threat. Authorities found the device and brought it into the bank, where it went off.

    While prosecutors argued at the time that a stray radio wave detonated the bomb, Turnidge's attorneys said a bomb tech inadvertently set it off. They said Turnidge never intended to kill anyone in the bombing, so he shouldn't be held responsible for the deaths caused by the explosion.

    They also argued in 2015 that the judge in the 2010 trial made a total of 24 errors. Among them, the lawyers claimed the judge should not have allowed testimony about the Turnidges' anti-government views.

    The case went to the state's high court, and on Thursday Marion County District Attorney Walt Beglau announced that the court affirmed the convictions and death sentences for the aggravated murders of Capt. Tennant and Trooper Hakim.

    The court also upheld the attempted aggravated murder and assault charges in connection with the injured victims.

    "Today's decision reinforces the justice and fairness of the trial process and of the jury's verdicts and sentences," Beglau said Thursday.

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  8. #8
    Senior Member CnCP Legend Mike's Avatar
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    High court upholds death sentences for Woodburn bombers

    The Oregon Supreme Court on Friday upheld the death sentences of Bruce and Joshua Turnidge, the father and son each convicted of aggravated murder for the 2008 bombing of a Woodburn bank. The sentences were upheld when the court denied the Turnidges' petitions seeking reconsideration.

    In May, the court unanimously upheld the death sentences when reviewing arguments from the Turnidges's attorneys that a new trial should be granted because of lower court errors.

    Marion County District Attorney Walt Beglau said Sunday that he believes justice has been served in this case. Officials from the Oregon Judicial Department were not immediately available to comment on whether the Turnidges have now exhausted their appeals.

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  9. #9
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    In today's orders, the United States Supreme Court DENIED Turnidge's petition for certiorari.

    Lower Ct: Supreme Court of Oregon
    Case Nos.: (S059155)
    Decision Date: May 5, 2016
    Rehearing Denied: August 4, 2016


  10. #10
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    Families of Woodburn bank bombing, MAX attack victims testify against changes to death penalty

    The families of two high-profile crime victims urged lawmakers on Wednesday to reject a bill that would significantly restrict the death penalty in Oregon.

    Erik Best, the oldest son of Ricky Best who died in the May 2017 MAX train attack, testified along with the wife and two children of Woodburn police Capt. Thomas Tennant, who was killed in the 2008 Woodburn bank bombing.

    Senate Bill 1013 has already passed the Oregon Senate. On Tuesday, the bill was the subject of a hearing before the House Rules Committee.

    The bill would redefine aggravated murder to apply only to acts of terror that kill two or more people, killings in jail or prison by people already convicted of aggravated murder and the premeditated murder of a someone younger than 14.

    Best testified that a jury, not lawmakers, should decide the punishment for his fathers alleged killer.

    Jeremy Christian is slated to go on trial next year for aggravated murder in the fatal stabbings of Bests father and Taliesin Namkai-Meche on a train as it pulled into the Hollywood MAX station. Christian also is accused of stabbing a third passenger, Micah Fletcher, who survived.

    Its a cruel world, Best said, and in the face of absolute evil, I would like for the jury to have the ability to enforce justice as they see fit.

    Under current state law, aggravated murder covers crimes such as killing a child under 12, killing more than one person, killing a police officer on duty or killing someone during a rape or robbery. Those crimes are eligible for the death penalty.

    The bill would reclassify those as first-degree murder, carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    The proposed legislation also would change one of the four questions juries must decide when considering whether to impose a death sentence. Under Oregons system, jurors must determine that a person guilty of aggravated murder is at risk of being a danger in the future. The bill would remove that question.

    Mary Tennant, Tennants widow, took issue with the change involving police officer killings.

    That is wrong, she said. It is an injustice. Oregon police officers put their lives on the line every day for ordinary citizens. They run into danger, not away from it.

    If a person is willing to kill a police officer, they are the worst of the worst," she said.

    The men convicted of the fatal bombing, Bruce Turnidge and his son, Joshua Turnidge, were sentenced to death.

    Katie Suver, a deputy district attorney in Marion County, said the Turnidges crimes wouldnt be eligible for the death penalty under the bill. She testified that the proposed legislation effectively does away with the death penalty in Oregon because the crimes it includes are exceptionally rare.

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