Defense Witnesses Dispute Alleged Rape at Mahaffey Man’s Trial

CLEARFIELD – After the commonwealth rested its case Monday afternoon, defense attorney Robbie Taylor started presenting witnesses who disputed the then 15-year-old girl’s rape allegations against a 31-year-old Mahaffey man.

James L. Turner Jr., 31, of Mahaffey is facing charges of rape; involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with person less than 16 years of age; statutory sexual assault; indecent assault with person less than 16 years of age; and corruption of minors.

The commonwealth formally dropped the charge against Turner for aggravated indecent assault with person less than 16 years of age prior to the start of the trial. Turner is currently free on $50,000 unsecured bail.

The girl’s male friend recalled speaking with her the morning of Sept. 27 at her mother’s residence. He said it was early – around 4 a.m. – and he dropped off a teddy bear that they’d won at the fair.

He said the girl either called or text-messaged him that “something bad had happened.” He believed her words were, “JR raped me.” However, he told jurors he didn’t contact police, as the girl is very manipulative and he assumed she just made it up.

“She didn’t appear to be in shock or anything,” he said. “She was just like always.”

The girl’s grandma said she came into the residence in which she was staying and admitted to having sex with Turner. She described it as “something bad” that had happened, but it was “fun” and she “might do it again.”

Her grandma said the girl had called her father; afterward the girl advised she had to contact police, because she’d been raped. Her grandma said she couldn’t figure out why she’d told one story to her and then another to her father.

“It didn’t seem real,” she said of her granddaughter’s alleged rape. When questioned by District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr., she admitted she didn’t ask her granddaughter why she had sex with Turner or even if she wanted to.

Shaw asked the girl’s grandma if she was concerned to which she said she couldn’t believe it. He then pointed out that the girl’s grandma lived with a registered sex offender, which she confirmed, adding she wasn’t the man’s wife or girlfriend.

When questioned, the girl’s grandma said she’d been contacted by the alleged victim after Christmas in 2011. She said the girl asked if the state police had spoken to her, and she wasn’t sure if she should disclose that to her.

“I told her I couldn’t lie,” said the girl’s grandma. She said, ‘just don’t tell them that part then.’

“I love my granddaughter. I don’t want to get her in trouble. But I’m here today to tell the truth.”

At that point, Shaw said, “We’ll let the jury decide that.”

The woman who lived with the girl’s grandma said the girl arrived at her and there on Sept. 27, 2010. Like the previous testimony, the girl, according to her, said “something bad happened” and they had to drag the details out of her. She said the girl admitted to having sex with Turner in the bed upstairs and then again on the table downstairs.

“She said she’d do it again,” said the woman. However, she said the girl twisted her story when speaking with her father by phone, making it appear as though she’d been raped.

The woman said the girl was instructed to call the state police, which she did. She said the girl “basically lied to Trooper (Randy) Powell.”

Under cross-examination by Shaw, the woman admitted she and the girl weren’t friends. She said she’s known Turner and recently purchased a vehicle from him this past Friday.

Shaw asked the woman if she recalled telling state police that the girl mentioned having oral sex with Turner. The woman said she only remembered hearing the girl talk about having sexual intercourse with Turner in an upstairs bed and downstairs on the kitchen table, which she found alarming.

“She said she’s had sex with a 29- or 30-year-old man, and you didn’t call the police?” asked Shaw. The woman countered, “Of course, I didn’t. She didn’t say that it was rape.”

She said she’d asked the girl if Turner had forced her to have sexual intercourse with him. She said the girl responded “no” and she’d done it “willingly.” Further, she said after asking the girl why, the girl said she had sex with Turner, because she “liked it.”

When asked by Shaw, the woman said the vehicle she’d purchased from Turner was a 1996 Ford Escort for $400.

“Was it a good deal?” he asked. The woman replied, “Yes” to which Shaw said, “I bet it was.”

She said she confronted the girl about why she lied to her father. She said the girl explained that she didn’t want to get in trouble for telling the truth.

Shaw asked the woman if she notified state police of this, which she claimed she did. Shaw asked her to read the report to herself, and afterward, she said the state police must be wrong.

“I heard her end (of the conversation with her father),” she said.

The defendant’s wife, Mandi Turner testified last and detailed the couple’s relationship with the girl. She had known the girl since she was 5 or 6 years old. In addition, she said the girl often babysat for them, as she worked the night shift and her husband was a truck driver.

According to her, the girl lived with them with the exception of weekends. She said the girl’s parents lived nearby; however, she’d helped the girl enroll in Cyber School since she was having issues at school.

“She was like a daughter. She had some issues. But we showed her a loving home,” said Mandi Turner.

On the night of Sept. 26, she said the girl came in around 6 p.m. or 6:30 p.m., and they advised she didn’t need to watch the children that night. At that point, the girl said she couldn’t go home, because she’d been fighting with her mother and sister.

Mandi Turner explained the girl primarily lived with her and the defendant. But this night, they’d told her she could stay with family or friends. She said the girl “threw a fit and wouldn’t go home.”

While the girl went outside to have a cigarette, the woman said she and her husband went upstairs and had sexual intercourse. Afterward she showered and changed her clothes before going to work.

As usual, she talked with the girl between 11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m., while she was at work. But this night, she said they also talked between 1 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. When she arrived home from work, she said the girl who had previously been wearing jogging pants and a T-shirt had changed into jeans and a T-shirt.

That morning she said her husband put their children on the bus, not the girl. She said the girl had left and when she returned, she told her she’d been with her ex-boyfriend. She said the girl showered and changed and left again and returned with a teddy bear for the Turner’s youngest daughter.

Mandi Turner said she and the girl had a cigarette and lunch, and her husband was at the residence with them. She said the girl didn’t act as though she’d been raped and only mentioned getting in trouble for kicking the defendant “in the nuts,” while they were wrestling around.

She said later the girl was at her grandma’s residence and text-messaged her about shopping, because she was bored. She received a call from her neighbor that the girl wanted to speak with her. When she eventually spoke to the girl, she told her that she’d performed oral sex on the defendant but she didn’t have sex with him.

“I wouldn’t be here today defending ‘JR’ if I thought he did this,” said Mandi Turner. She said the next day she packed the girl’s belongings for her father to pick up.

Taylor then presented a pair of size large Rue 21 underwear, which was similar in design to the pair sent for DNA testing. She said the underwear from Rue 21 run small and they’re made for petite women. She said she weighs 105 pounds and wears this size and the girl wouldn’t fit into them.

Mandi Turner told jurors she’d worn the underwear all day, engaged in sexual intercourse with her husband and put them back on afterward. Then, she showered and changed her underwear before going to work.

Under cross-examination, Shaw questioned the woman about her confronting her husband after the girl alleged she’d performed oral sex on him. She indicated she was upset and asked how he’d react in a similar situation.

Shaw questioned Mandi Turner about whether she’d told police she’d worn the underwear that had been submitted for DNA analysis. He said it wasn’t included in her written statement to state police.

“I didn’t know they were missing,” she said.

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