Man who brutally assaulted woman gets close to time served

Rosie Mullaley
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Thirty-four-year-old sentenced to six more days in jail, two years’ probation

Gregory Turner’s case is proof that hooking up with someone downtown is not always a good idea.
Turner — who met a woman downtown, took her back to his place and then assaulted her — has been given a year-long jail term.

Gregory Turner (right) shares a laugh with his lawyer, Jerome Kennedy, during a break in proceedings in Turner’s sentencing hearing Monday at provincial court in
St. John’s. — Photo by Rose Mullaley/The Telegram

But he’ll spend only six more days behind bars.

The 34-year-old, who has been in custody since just after the incident last November, was given 1.5 times credit for the period he’s already been in jail, leaving just under a week left on his term.

Turner was sentenced Monday in provincial court in St. John’s.

Once he’s out of jail, he’ll serve two years’ probation with conditions that include he have no contact or communication with the woman.

Turner had originally been charged with sexual assault causing bodily harm and uttering threats, but the Crown amended the first charge and  he pleaded guilty to the lesser count of assault causing bodily harm. The second count was withdrawn in exchange for the guilty plea.

Turner was arrested as a result of an incident that happened on Nov. 2, 2013.

The night before, at around midnight, he had helped a woman who was drunk and had fallen down outside a downtown gas station, where she had gotten a taxi to buy alcohol.

After a brief conversation, the woman agreed to go back to Turner’s apartment on Burgeo Street.

At 7:20 a.m. the next morning, the two had a disagreement and Turner became violent. He held her down by her wrists, bit her chest and dragged her to the door, where he threw her out. She was wearing nothing but his T-shirt. He then left and drove away.

A 911 call from a neighbour reported a woman in distress outside the house. The woman, who appeared to still be drunk, was covered in bruises, some of them severe, especially to her chest, hip and arm.

She was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, treated and released.

Crown prosecutor Tannis King and defence lawyer Jerome Kennedy agreed to recommend a year-long prison term, but they disagreed on the credit Turner should get for the time he had spent in custody.

King said straight-time credit was warranted. She pointed out that Turner, who was denied bail, has a

16-page record from this province, along with several offences committed in Lloydminster, Alta., where he lived for a brief time.

But Kennedy said Turner should get 1.5 times credit, since time on remand was harsher than that served by the average inmate.

He said Turner spent three weeks at the St. John’s lockup, where conditions are much worse than at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary (HMP). When he was finally moved to HMP, Kennedy said Turner was put in the special handling unit because there was no room in the other units. Kennedy also cited the two riots at HMP in the last six months, as well as a stabbing incident in the chapel.

When Turner got his chance to speak, he apologized to the victim, his family and the court.

“I just want to get this over and move forward with my life,” he said.

In ruling that Turner get 1.5 times credit for his time in custody, Judge David Orr acknowledged that there are more restrictions for prisoners on remand.

He added that there was no weapon used in the assault against the woman and while the woman’s bruises were severe, she had no lasting physical effects and didn’t need further medical intervention.

Turner — who is originally from Lawn  — made headlines in the late 1990s when he was accused of murdering retired school teacher Rose Haley.

The 54-year-old’s body was discovered Dec. 16, 1997, in the bathroom of her home after three men noticed smoke coming from the house and called the fire department.

The cause of the fire was found to be faulty wiring, but the province’s chief medical examiner concluded Haley had been strangled and had received at least three blows to her head and face.

The RCMP charged Turner with first-degree murder in March 1998. Turner, 19 at the time, was committed to stand trial for second-degree murder. However, DNA evidence presented during the trial was inconclusive.

Kennedy represented Turner in that case as well. According to media reports at that time, Kennedy questioned technicians from the RCMP lab and discovered that the technician who had tested Turner’s ring had also been working on the victim’s fingernails a few inches away, creating a strong likelihood of evidence contamination.

The technician also admitted she had mistakenly contaminated Turner’s ring with her own DNA.

Turner was found not guilty by a jury in March 2001.

Organizations: RCMP

Geographic location: Lloydminster

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Recent comments

  • Marshall Art
    July 02, 2014 - 20:44

    That's the first time I've seen Jerome Kennedy laugh. And it's at a trial, where he's sharing a laugh with his client, who brutally assaulted a woman. Lots of comedic material there, apparently. Pass the barf bag.

  • MM
    July 02, 2014 - 12:03

    I cannot believe you opened this article with the statement: "Gregory Turner’s case is proof that hooking up with someone downtown is not always a good idea." A vulnerable woman was assaulted, and the lead of the article implies that it was her fault, instead of a violent perpetrator? Shameful, irresponsible reporting.

    • KFY
      July 02, 2014 - 13:37

      I couldn't agree more.

    • Jim
      July 02, 2014 - 19:59

      Me as well. Terrible and irresponsible reporting. What about the lasting effects this will have on this woman. Ok no physical or noticeable marks but there will be long term emotional effects. I pray for the woman and this guy has a 16 page history. You might want to start there. Another criminal slipping through the cracks until he actually get caught killing someone. Shame on you

    • m
      July 02, 2014 - 22:07

      Yes, what a sick headline. Also sick is this comment: "He added that there was no weapon used in the assault against the woman and while the woman’s bruises were severe, she had no lasting physical effects and didn’t need further medical intervention."

    • MB
      July 03, 2014 - 00:18

      Honestly. I can't believe that the reporter, editor, and whoever approved the distribution of this article believes this passes for responsible journalism. Disgusting. And to offset the implicit 'boys will be boys' attitude as displayed in the opening sentence, they post right beside it a picture of the man and his lawyer, like they're laughing about his downtown shenanigans. Is this presumptuous of me? I wonder why. This reporter sets the tone for the article by lightening the situation, (hey boys, this could happen to you!) and thereby minimizes readers reactions to a series of actions that should be vilified, not shrugged off. Though never stated, this reporters cavalier attitude lays down an implicit tone of victim-blaming. I see this all the time with The Telegram. Always trying to insert jokes and quips and a little lighthearted cajoling in their reporting. I don't always mind it, but when you're reporting a scenario in which there is a victim, has been designated as such by the authorities, no matter if you subjectively view that victim as somewhat complicit in the event, responsible journalism means that you remove your voice out of the article and state the facts. Grow some objectivity, Telegram.

  • gb
    July 02, 2014 - 11:23

    Arrested in November and has 6 more days left to his sentence because of 1.5 times served credit. This is not an approprate sentence. Barely 7 months for someone with a 16 page criminal record who picked up a vulnerable women who fell down. Not approprate by any measure in my opinion. Again NL justice system proves to be a joke.

  • Magie
    July 02, 2014 - 07:30

    The dangers of picking up strangers for sex is one that any person with half a brain knows is dangerous. This article should be posted on the door to every club on George St! That cute smiling man or woman that just brought you a drink could be a monster!