12 Year Old Murder Case Goes to Trial

A man arrested in 2005--nearly a decade after the murder of a Tallahassee woman--is now on trial for the crime.
John Turner stands accused of the 1996 death of Lessie Harris.
A DNA match made almost ten years later tied Turner to the murder.
A key piece of evidence is presented in court: A pair of boxer shorts found near the bloody body of then 39-year-old Lessie Harris in her home in 1996.
In opening statements Tuesday, State Prosecutor Georgia Cappleman tells the jury that DNA from those boxers matches John Turner.
Turner was arrested in 2005.
Cappleman said, "We don't know exactly what transpired which led up to this man killing Lessie Harris. But we know that Lessie was stabbed not once, not twice or three times, but 35 times."
SGT Leilani Marsh was the first Leon County deputy to arrive at 4908 Poinsetta Drive on July 2, 1996.
She testified that Harris was lying face down on her own living room floor in a pool of blood.
It was determined Harris had died the day before.
SGT Marsh says it also appeared that Harris's throat had been cut.
Robert Sean Yao with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Crime Lab confirmed that on the stand.
Defense attorney Clyde Taylor said, "Reasonable doubt in this case can arise from the evidence. Reasonable doubt in the case can arise from conflicts of the evidence and reasonable doubts in the case can arise from the lack of evidence."
Other evidence mentioned in court included 17 unidentified fingerprints found in Harris's home, blood in the kitchen and bathroom, and other clothing items.
Turner's lawyer says none of this points to Turner.
Prosecutors say it was a man named DeWayne Dugans that first pointed the finger at Turner and got the cold case reopened. Prosecutors say Dugans went to authorities in 2004 and said that Turner came to his house the night of the murder covered in blood and made admissions to the crime.
Dugans testified Tuesday, but had to do so via two-way satellite because he is in federal prison in Springfield, Missouri.
Officials say he could not be transferred because he is morbidly obese and has other health problems as well.
The trial continues Wednesday.


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