Smithfield Boys To Be Tried For Aggravated Attempted Murder

Mar 23, 2017

A second teenager has been ordered to stand trial in a case involving the shooting of 14-year-old Deserae Turner. First District Juvenile Court Judge Angela F. Fonnesbeck listened Tuesday and Wednesday as state prosecutors argued there is sufficient evidence to suggest two 16-year-old boys planned to kill the girl with a knife and a gun.

Cache County Attorney James Swink called witnesses, including detectives from Logan and Smithfield, who shared evidence supporting their claims the two Smithfield boys plotted together to kill the girl. Swink said the co-defendant may not have pulled the trigger, but that law allows for him to be tried for aggravated attempted murder based on the evidence.

"We put on evidence today that he was an accomplice," Swink said. "He was integral in the planning and carrying out of the shooting of Deserae. A law states when you encourage, aid or assist in any way a person committing a crime, you have the same degree of culpability. Under law you can be charged with that same crime."

Following Wednesday's hearing the defendants attorney, Shannon Demler, said the evidence presented will help prove his client had nothing to do with the shooting.

"Everyone agrees that he was not the shooter in this case," Demler said. "He never had a gun in his possession. In all their investigation there is no contact between him and her to where he lured her to the scene."

The state is relying on testimony from the shooter to prove both boys were involved in plans to kill Turner. Demler said the other boy has admitted to shooting the girl in the back of the head as she walked away.  

"He tried to murder someone," Demler said. "His credibility is very low and he cannot be trusted."

Testimony offered during both preliminary hearings indicates the boy who admitted to shooting Turner did change his story about the second co-defendants involvement on February 16, 2017.

"He lied to the officers," Demler said. "He changed his story and blamed my client."

Both boys have been charged with attempted aggravated murder, attempted robbery and four counts of obstructing justice.

"We will transition to a hearing in which the court will determine whether or not to bind over the defendants to district courts, to answer those charges as adults," Swink said.

The co-defendants will remain in a Cache County juvenile detention center. Best Interest Hearings for both boys are scheduled to happen in May, when it will be determined if they will be tried as adults. 

Following two days of testimonies and evidence sharing, the girl's father, Matt Turner, said his daughter is beginning intensive therapies and that the family is hopeful she will keep improving. 

"She has under gone a tough surgery and continues to fight for the ability to complete daily tasks many of us take for grants," he said. "As of [Wednesday], she has been admitted to in-patient rehab services. we appreciate support and prayers of so many and ask that you continue to pray for her, our family and other families impacted by this tragedy."

A video of Deserae being interviewed by a detective on March 10th was shown during the hearing where she asked who had shot her and why.