YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A jury has returned a guilty verdict in the murder trial of 26-year-old Traeshaun Turner.
Turner was found guilty on all counts in the Sept. 8 shooting death of Ishmael Bethel. He will be sentenced next week.
According to Mahoning County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Day, there were no ifs, ands, buts or maybes in the case.
Day told a jury Thursday during closing arguments that Bethel was shot in the back by Turner across the street from a Glenwood Avenue bar and that the killing was murder.
“Traeshaun Turner shot Ishmael Bethel in the back,” Day began his argument. “He shot him in the back like a coward.”
Defense counsel Mark Lavelle countered in his argument that the shooting was self defense and that police found casings from two different weapons at the crime scene.
“There can not be a doubt in anyone’s mind that both of these men had guns,” Lavelle said.
Turner, who is claiming self defense, testified on his own behalf before Judge Durkin and before the lawyers delivered their summations. Jurors were selected Monday and began hearing testimony Tuesday.
Turner faces charges of murder and attempted murder for the shooting that not only killed Bethel but also wounded a 16-year-old girl.
Police said Turner was arguing with the girl over $40 she owed him when Bethel intervened and was shot shortly after.
Day said the two eyewitnesses who testified said Bethel did not have a gun, as Turner claimed, and that Turner’s story that Bethel was walking backward and shooting as he walked did not match up with the evidence.
Day said Turner reached over the door of his car to fire the shots that killed Bethel and wounded the girl. The coroner’s investigators and autopsy results confirmed that the bullets that killed Bethel entered his body through his back.
Lavelle said police ignored evidence such as a bullet hole in Turner’s car and shell casings from another weapon that were collected at the scene.
Day pointed out that Turner never told police Bethel had a gun and that he never told that story until the trial. Lavelle countered that prosecutors hold a double standard when they bemoan the fact that witnesses are afraid to testify, yet they hold it against a defendant who says they are afraid to speak to the police.