Crime & Courts

May 30, 2014

Shooting death of former South High football player brings two life sentences

Sex and stupidity killed his son Jordan last year, Frank Turner said.

Sex and stupidity killed his son Jordan last year, Frank Turner said.

Turner on Friday watched a Sedgwick County judge sentence three of his son’s lifelong friends to prison, two of them with life sentences.

“Guns. Girls. Showing off. Acting tough,” Frank Turner said, after the hearings.

“I coach a little sixth-grade football team,” said Turner, a food wholesaler. “And I tell them all the time: Decisions. Consequences. Think about what you’re doing.”

Jordan Turner, 19, a former South High School football tackle, was murdered last year in what Judge Joseph Bribiesca described from the bench as “a planned execution.” His body was left in a cotton field and wasn’t found until 32 days later.

On Friday, in separate hearings, Bribiesca sentenced three people, all friends or acquaintances of Jordan Turner since grade school, his father said.

Kristofer JaQuinton Wright was given a life sentence Friday for premeditated first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. He won’t be eligible for parole for 35 years, prosecutors said.

“Jordan was my friend,” Wright told Bribiesca, when asked if he had anything to say. Prosecutors say Wright was the shooter when Turner died on March 1, 2013.

He was no true friend, said Robert Short, the prosecutor. “All the evidence shows that Jordan Turner begged for his life, and that this defendant, more so than the others, was the last person with the last opportunity to stop this homicide,” Short told Bribiesca in court. “Instead, he made sure Jordan Turner did not come out of this alive.”

Prosecutors have said Wright shot Turner to death in a field near Pawnee and 127th Street East because Turner had cheated Ebony Nguyen in a marijuana deal. Frank Turner told Bribiesca in the hearings that part of the dynamic of the group of three, one which he said contributed to the murder, was that the two male defendants involved were acting tough, “waving guns around,” vying for Nguyen’s sexual attention.

Nguyen was sentenced to life on a first-degree felony murder charge. She will be eligible for parole in 20 years. Nguyen said she was sorry Turner died, then said, “I’m a person who’s done bad things but I’m not as bad as people say I am.”

Steva Bowers, Jordan Turner’s mother, spoke directly to Nguyen in the hearing where Nguyen was sentenced. “Jordan was my only child,” Bowers said. She is no longer a parent, she said. She will never be a grandmother.

“I feel sorry for you,” she told Nguyen. “I wonder what type of life you lived that led to this. And now Jordan is okay, because he is with our father God. But I am here to grieve.”

“Are you scared?” Bowers asked Nguyen.

A third defendant, Eric M. Jackson, was sentenced Friday afternoon to 10 years and three months in prison on one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Bribiesca said after the hearing that Jackson could cut 15 percent of that time off with good behavior in prison.

One of the tragedies here, Frank Turner said, is that Jackson and his son had been close friends for years, and that he as Jordan’s father had often mentored Jackson as a child.

Short said Nguyen talked Wright into shooting Turner because Turner had bought $360 worth of marijuana from her with counterfeit bills.

Prosecutors said that Turner and the three defendants spent the night of March 30, 2013, at Doc Howard’s in Old Town and that Nguyen realized after the group left the bar that Turner had cheated her.

Nguyen then drove the group to Harrison Park near Harry and Webb, where Nguyen discussed the plans with Wright, 21, and Jackson, 22. A fourth person, Emily Spencer, 19, was with the group but did not take part in the conversation and was not charged.

Nguyen then drove the group to Pawnee and 127th East, where Turner was shot multiple times.

Turner’s body was found a month later by a farmer. A Crime Stoppers tip that night led to the arrest of four suspects. Three of the four were charged with Turner’s murder, while Spencer testified against the other three.

One of the saddest chapters of this story, Frank Turner told Bribiesca at all three hearings, was how he looked up the Facebook pages for the three people sentenced. In the month while his son’s body lay decomposing in that field, they posted photos of themselves, together or separately, smiling, looking happy, Wright bare-chested and showing off his many tattoos. They knew where his son was, Turner said. And yet even then they pretended to be Jordan’s friend.

When the police arrested Wright, Turner said, they found the pistol that killed his son in Wright’s pocket.

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