Va. justices reject innocence claim in '95 slaying

AP News
Posted: Sep 16, 2011 11:20 AM
Va. justices reject innocence claim in '95 slaying

The Virginia Supreme Court has refused to exonerate a former Navy SEAL trainee in the abduction and murder of a woman he met at a Virginia Beach nightclub in 1995.

Friday's ruling was unanimous.

Dustin Turner of Bloomington, Ind., was sentenced to 82 years in prison for the slaying of 21-year-old Emory University student Jennifer Evans. Another man, Billy Joe Brown of Dayton, Ohio, was convicted in a separate trial and is serving 72 years.

Turner filed his innocence claim after Brown claimed in sworn affidavits that he alone strangled Evans. Brown now says Turner's only involvement was helping dispose of the victim's body.

A state appeals panel ruled that Turner should be exonerated. However, the full appeals court overturned the panel decision, and Turner appealed to the Supreme Court.