Mark Turley cleared of charge in jury trial

    Judge holding gavel in courtroom

    By Drew Wright
    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.
    “ C a n y o u ? ” Woma
    c k r e s p o n d e d .
    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 selfdescribed
    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 selfdescription
    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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