Brooklyn Park mother seeks help in solving son's killing

She hopes to spark new leads in cold case

  • Bessie Turner talks with Anne Arundel County Police spokesman Justin Mulcahy about her son at her home on the eve of the second anniversary of his murder. Rudolph Turner Jr.'s killing has become a cold case for the Anne Arundel County Police, and all parties hope that attention may generate new information that may lead to an arrest.
Bessie Turner talks with Anne Arundel County Police spokesman… (Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore…)
September 15, 2010|By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun

Bessie Turner bought her house in a quiet Brooklyn Park neighborhood six years ago with a plan: She wanted to give her two sons a better place to live. She'd stay until January 2010, then pull out some of her equity and move to Myrtle Beach, S.C. Her sons would continue living there, paying less than if they were to rent a similar place, and she'd be there often.

But that all changed two years ago Thursday.

Her elder son, Rudolph Turner Jr., 25, was fatally shot in his bedroom. Anne Arundel County police are no closer to solving his slaying than they were in 2008, when a bullet burst through the window and into his chest.

"I'll stay until I know what happened," Bessie Turner said Wednesday. Then she will consider moving, but probably not so far away because she wants to continue to spend time with her late son's daughter, Jada, who is now 9 years old.

Both Turner and police are sure that someone has information that could help solve the case.

This week, as she prepared for an emotional two-year anniversary, Turner pointed to a green marble box on her glass-top living room table that contains her son's ashes. "He's here with me," she said.

She recalls the hours after his death, when she and her other son had to leave their home with Rudolph Jr.'s body inside as police took control of the crime scene, and how she'd always told him that she'd never leave him.

Turner, who is divorced, said she longs to know who killed the child nicknamed "Q" because he had been such a cute baby. Until that happens, she said, she'll speak out on every anniversary of her son's homicide, reminding people that just one person with a snippet of information could send a detective on the track to finding the killer. She's looking for justice, not revenge, she said.

"I'm not mad, I'm not angry, I'm not bitter. I forgive them. I could not heal if I didn't," she said. "Trust me, I pray every day on this."

To the people who have not told investigators what they know, she asks: "How do you think this has affected Jada? How do you think she feels when she goes to school and has Father's Day? It's not so much about me. It's Jada."

In the meantime, the uncertainty has her "always looking over my shoulder."

Turner said she knows her son, a 2001 graduate of Glen Burnie High School, was not perfect, but he was hardly a troublemaker.

Instead, she said, Rudolph Jr. was a "neat freak" who preferred even his T-shirts ironed. She described him as having an "old soul," as a polite guy who helped his mother study algebra as she prepared to return to college and listened to his grandparents' stories, and who wrote music and rapped with a small group of friends who called themselves MOET (Money Over Every Thing) in his free time. He was, his brother said, all about his family.

And he was devoted to Jada — her crayon drawing of them below a heart that says "I so much love u daddy" remains in his bedroom — taking her places and spending time with her. Christy Tyler, the child's mother, said they stayed on good terms after their long relationship ended.

He wanted to study accounting, and worked as a houseman and shuttle driver at Comfort Suites BWI, a position to which he'd been recruited after his supervisor at another hotel moved to a job there, Turner said.

Rudolph Jr. and his brother, Raphael, 41/2 years his junior, were playing MLB Baseball 2005 on a Nintendo game cube in Rudolph Jr.'s street-facing bedroom the night he was slain. "He was winning," Raphael Turner said, recalling the score was O's 3, Blue Jays 0 in the second inning, when there was a tap on the window.

Late-arriving friends and relatives knew to knock on the window so they wouldn't wake Bessie Turner. Typically, one brother would go the window to see who it was and the other would head for the front door, he said.

Rudolph Jr. went to the window. His younger brother said he reached the bedroom door when he heard the shot. In the chaotic moments afterward, Raphael Turner woke his mother to say Rudolph Jr. was shot, followed by his brother stumbling in after him, clutching an area above his heart, saying, "It's true, I've been shot." They called 911 and pressed clothing on the wound to try to stop the bleeding. He was barely able to speak, and having told his mother that he loved her, died before paramedics and police arrived.

"We are at a standstill with this case," said cold-case Detective John Gajda.

They suspect that a person who was familiar with the victim or his friends or family may have been involved because someone knew to rap on the window.

But, Gajda said, "we are not going to focus just on that."

The family suspects Rudolph Jr.'s death may be linked to his befriending a woman at work who had boyfriend problems, but Gajda said investigators lack evidence for that — and on just about anything else. About 30 people were questioned, but leads dead-ended early, sending the file to cold-case status about six months sooner than the usual two years.

"I feel that there are people out there with information but they're afraid to tell it," Gajda said.

Anyone with information can reach Gajda at 410-222-3460 or; or the Police Department through Facebook or Twitter. Metro CrimeStoppers, at 1-866-7LOCKUP or via text — "MCS" plus your message to CRIMES (274637) — is offering a $2,000 reward.

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