Jury recommends eight life sentences for man convicted of rape, sodomy

KENTON COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – A Kenton County jury deliberated for only about 30 minutes Wednesday before finding Joshua Robert Turner guilty of eight felony offenses, including rape and sodomy of two children under 12 years old.
The same jury then deliberated for almost three hours before recommending Turner serve eight consecutive life sentences. Turner hung his head and hurried out of the courtroom after hearing the verdict
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Turner’s trial started Tuesday before Kenton Circuit Judge Kathleen Lape. The case was prosecuted by Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys Maria Schletker and Emily Arnzen.
The prosecutors called five witnesses and presented dozens of pieces of evidence over the course of the two-day trial.
Prosecutors said Turner’s former girlfriend testified she went into Turner’s cell phone while he slept because she suspected him of lying to her. She said she was shocked to find multiple videos of Turner molesting two children under the age of 12.
The woman hid the phone from Turner and turned it over to Park Hills Police the next day, according to prosecutors.
According to prosecutors, the woman told jurors Turner was supposed to be watching the children while their mothers worked.
Park Hills Lt. Richard Webster testified he recovered the clothing worn by the girls and the clothing Turner wore in the videos. Webster identified the apartment where the crimes occurred by the furniture and curtains seen in the background of the videos.
Webster obtained a warrant for Turner’s arrest.
Once Turner was taken into custody, Webster photographed his hand and arm tattoos which matched those seen on the man abusing the children in the videos found on Turner’s phone, prosecutors said.
Lakeside Park Police Detective James Jackson testified he was called in to download Turner’s cell phones and recovered the videos and hundreds of photographs.
Commonwealth’s Detective Nick Klaiss testified about his review of the phone downloads which included the date each video was made. Klaiss told jurors the photographs of the abuse found on Turner’s phone numbered in the hundreds. The jury then watched the videos of the crimes taking place, according to prosecutors.
In a statement, Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders applauded the work and sacrifice of the jurors, saying, “It’s one thing to hear testimony about a child being sexually assaulted, but having to watch it with your own eyes is a horrifying experience!” Sanders said, “We know jurors sacrificed a piece of themselves by sitting through this case but their sacrifice provided justice for those children and we appreciate their service.”
Sanders said the only plea offer extended to Turner was also a Life sentence and he hopes this case sends a message to other child molesters.
“Kenton County jurors are not going to tolerate this abhorrent behavior and neither are we,” said Sanders. “If you victimize children in this county we will bury you under the prison!”
Turner is scheduled to appear again before Judge Lape on September 27, 2021 at 9:00 am for formal, final sentencing.
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