Deserae Turner was allegedly shot in the back of her head, robbed and left for dead

By Christine Pelisek
March 22, 2017 03:59 PM
Deserae Turner
Smithfield Police Department

A Utah detective testified Tuesday that a 16-year-old boy hatched a plot with another boy to kill a 14-year-old girl because he “got tired” of her texting and messaging him on Snapchat, PEOPLE confirms.

The minor suspects allegedly lured Deserae Turner to a dry canal bed in Smithfield, Utah, under the guise of selling her a knife, according to charging documents obtained by PEOPLE. There, they allegedly shot her in the back of the head, robbed her and then left her for dead. (Turner’s family has publicly identified her on a GoFundMe page.)

They are charged with one count each of first-degree felony attempted aggravated murder and aggravated robbery and four counts each of second-degree felony obstructing justice for shooting Turner in the back of the head, robbing her and then leaving her for dead.

The testimony by Cache County Sheriff Deputy Brian Groves was part of a day-long preliminary hearing for the teen. The boy’s alleged accomplice is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.

Groves alleged in his testimony that the teen shooter mentioned that he “got tired” of Turner’s contacting with him and joked about killing her. But his friend allegedly replied, “It would be pretty easy to get rid of her,” Groves testified, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

That was when the plan was hatched, Groves alleged. However, the teens didn’t go through with the first alleged attempt to kill Turner.

“[The teen] was supposed to slit her throat,” Groves testified, the paper reports. “He indicated to me that he couldn’t do it.”

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A few days later, on February 16, the teens allegedly lured her to the dry canal bed. They had allegedly planned to stab her to death and then rob her — but one of the boys allegedly decided instead to use a .22-caliber revolver he had brought with him.

Groves alleged Turner was shot in the back of the head by the teen with whom she had been sending Snapchat messages when she turned away from the boys and started to walk home.

“She had no idea that was going to happen,” Groves alleged in his testimony. “[The teen] said it was the most merciful way.”

Groves testified that before the shooting the two boys texted each other about their plan.

“Let’s get this done, bro,” one of the boys allegedly texted at the canal.

“Yeah man, hold on,” the other boy allegedly replied. “Are we clear?”

According to charging documents obtained by PEOPLE, after Turner was shot at close range, the alleged shooter said he stole her cellphone and iPod from her pocket. He alleged the other teen stole $55 from her purse and forcibly removed her backpack from her body.

After they allegedly robbed her, the duo allegedly tossed the victim’s backpack in a Dumpster in a city park and destroyed her electronics, the documents state.

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Two women out searching for her found Turner lying in the ditch, according to court testimony.

Smithfield Detective Brandon Muir testified that one month after the shooting, on March 10, a still-hospitalized Turner asked a detective who shot her and why.

Smithfield Detective Brandon Muir said he didn’t answer Turner’s questions; it was decided that her father would tell her.

“She was surprised,” the detective testified, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, about the teen’s disbelief. “She had a look of shock on her face.”