Son given 20 years in killing

September 13, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

A man who beat his mother to death with a statue of the Virgin Mary was sentenced to 20 years in prison yesterday by an Anne Arundel Circuit Court judge who was told the mother was always helping her wayward son through trouble -- right up until the day he killed her.

Michael Wesley Turner, 30, of the 100 block of Roselawn Road, Annapolis, was sentenced for the Nov. 5, 1993, second-degree murder of his mother, Marie H. Turner, 63.

Turner, who had previously been convicted of theft and breaking and entering, admitted hitting his mother with the statue during an argument in her home. He was staying there, having been released from prison 10 days earlier.

Mrs. Turner, a mother of three, worked as a volunteer at Crownsville Hospital Center. Paramedics found her on her bedroom floor about 5 a.m. after Turner called 911.

Initially, Turner told police he and his mother had been attacked by an intruder. He was charged with her death after police noticed no signs of forced entry. They also saw that Turner only had a few minor scratches, but was spattered with blood.

Yesterday, Turner's brother and sister told Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. that their mother supported her son, paying his bail when he was charged with crimes, testifying for him when his cases came to trial, and paying his legal fees. She even agreed to take him in when he was released from prison.

But Turner never reciprocated, they said.

"Michael did not show one ounce of respect to her. He lied to her. He stole from her. He threatened her," Linda Peters, Turner's sister, told the court.

During his speech to the court yesterday, Turner called his mother "one in a million" and admitted she always helped him. He attributed the slaying to his long-time addiction to crack cocaine.

"If I didn't have this addiction, I wouldn't be standing in front of you today," he said.

Michael Wachs, Turner's lawyer, said that on the night of the murder Turner had three or four beers with some friends, then decided to take three "hits" of crack cocaine on the ride home. That night, Turner committed his first violent crime, Mr. Wachs said.

Turner, a divorced father of two, was sentenced to two years in prison on June 18, 1992, for breaking into a Gambrills social club. Judge Lawrence H. Rushworth reduced the sentence to 18 months after Turner wrote to him twice in September 1992, asking for a reduction.

In one letter, Turner wrote that he wanted to be released so he could get closer to his mother. He wrote that with the divorce and the recent death of his father, his mother was "all I have left next to my kids."

Eugene Whissel II, assistant state's attorney, said he agreed to accept Turner's plea to second-degree murder, rather than seek a first-degree murder conviction, because there was no evidence the killing was premeditated.

Mrs. Peters and her brother, Mark Turner, said yesterday they were satisfied with the judge's sentence.

"He's [Turner] finally acknowledged that he did it, that was the important thing to us," she said.

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