Jury clears Turley of felony charges

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    By DrewWright
    awright@siftingsherald.com
    Dailey Siftings Herald
    While the jury began deliberations in his trial, Mark Turley spent the break on the grass of the Clark County Courthouse, throwing a football with his son.
    And following the jury’s verdict, he will get to continue doing that.
    The jury’s finding of not guilty for the defendant capped off a second day of testimony that saw Turley and his family take the stand before closing arguments were made in the rape case that was instigated over a year ago. From the beginning, Turley’s defense attorney, Louis Loyd, adamantly stated that the allegations were not true, but instead a smear campaign against his client by the victim’s mother, with whom the defendant has a reportedly turbulent past.
    The alleged victim also took the stand but court was sealed off during this time.
    Turley’s mother, Janice Womack, was the first to take the stand and discussed some aspects of Turley’s past. While she admitted that her son was not perfect, Womack insisted that he was innocent and incapable of committing the allegations.
    “Is your son a child molester?” asked Loyd, point-blank.
    “No, he’s not,” said Womack. “He would never do that.”
    Prosecutor Stephen Shirron next questioned the witness, asking her what a pedophile looked like. Womack responded that she did not know. Shirron went on, saying that sometimes people do bad things. Womack again admitted that her son had had problems in the past with anger and drugs, but he was not capable of what he was accused of.
    “You can’t tell me what a pedophile looks like?” Shirron asked again.
    “Can you?” Womack responded.
    Next to take the stand was Turley’s young son, who briefly discussed the good relationship he had with his father.
    Finally, Turley himself was in the chair to answer questions. Dressed in a dark blue button up shirt and fighting through tears, the defendant vehemently denied the rape allegation he was charged with.
    “In one week, my life got turned upside down,” Turley said of a year ago.
    “Did you touch this girl, Mark?” Loyd asked his client.
    “No sir, I would never touch a girl,” said Turley, again becoming emotional and crying. “This is not me. I’m not that guy.”
    During Shirron’s questioning, the prosecutor brought up Turley’s drug use. In response, Turley disclosed that he had been sober from methamphetamine for 10 years. Shirron also presented a piece of paper, on which Turley had self-described himself, including words such as “vain.”
    After both sides rested, closing arguments were scheduled for 12:45 p.m.
    After the break, Shirron began by thanking the jury for their service. Describing this day as the “most important” of Turley’s life, Shirron stated that there was no reasonable doubt and that this trial was about no one except the victim. Calling Turley a “predator,” Shirron insisted that the victim’s testimony was consistent.
    When Loyd began, he too thanked the jury before moving on to his case for reasonable doubt. Telling the jurors that he did not want to instruct them how to think, Loyd agreed with the prosecutor’s notion that the victim had no reason to lie. However, he said, it was easy for children to be manipulated, especially in a court of law. Further defense included the fact that there was no DNA evidence to substantiate allegation, which he reiterated was really the intention to drag his client’s name through the mud.
    Of the aforementioned self-description Turley had essayed, Loyd revealed it was actually a self-forgiving writing he had filled out years ago during his recovery from meth.
    Shirron returned once more and disputed claims that the initial investigation was not handled thoroughly. He further explained that a child’s emotional complexity was not yet developed enough to understand what had happened.
    The jury soon returned to deliberate. Around a quarter past 4 p.m., they returned with a verdict of not guilty, thus acquitting Turley of the rape charge that could have sent him away for life. The decision was greeted with a sigh of relief from the sizable crowd of family and friends that had turned out to support the defendant.
    Judge Robert McCallum then adjourned the court.
    “It’s been a long year, and I went through a lot of pain,” said Turley after making his way outside. “I’m just glad it’s over, and I can get on with my life.”

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