Three of four suspects arrested in former Wichita South High football player Jordan Turner’s death were formally charged with first-degree murder Tuesday in Sedgwick County District Court.
Ebony Nguyen, 21; Kristofer Wright, 20; and Eric Jackson, 21; stood quietly in green jail jumpsuits — breaking silence only to say “Yes, sir” and “Thank you” — as Judge Warren Wilbert read each the charge.
Nguyen, the first of the trio who appeared, shook her head when the judge told her she’d pay a $100 fee to apply for a court-appointed attorney.
When it was Wright’s turn, he glanced away and paused before answering “Yes, sir” to Wilbert’s “Are you seeking court-appointed counsel?”
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Jackson, originally arrested under suspicion of aggravated assault in Turner’s death, ended his appearance before the judge with a quick nod and “God bless.”
The fourth suspect, an 18-year-old woman who was previously named by the sheriff’s office, did not appear during the day’s court proceedings. Online jail records show her status was listed as “release without prejudice” as of Tuesday afternoon.
Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. David Mattingly said by e-mail he did not have enough details to immediately discuss the woman’s status. He added that the agency plans to give a statement on the case Wednesday during its regular weekly briefing with media.
Preliminary hearings for Nguyen, Wright and Jackson are set for 9 a.m. May 21. Each is held in Sedgwick County Jail in lieu of $1 million bond.
A farmer discovered 19-year-old Turner’s body on May 1 in a cotton field near Pawnee and 127th Street East. An investigation revealed he was shot at least twice in the field on March 31; authorities made arrests in the case late last week after someone submitted a tip to Crime Stoppers.
In an e-mailed response to questions, district attorney spokesman Dan Dillon said as of Tuesday “the three who made first appearances today are the only individuals with active cases relating to this incident.”
Turner’s is the first homicide of the year in rural Sedgwick County.