I thought I’d pop in and refer readers to this awesome Los Angeles Times article on the Jahi Turner case, told from the point of view of Jahi’s mother, Tameka.
Tameka was only eighteen years old when her son went missing, and that was eighteen years ago–a lifetime. It took a long time for her to get out of denial and come to terms with the fact that her husband Tieray, her son’s caregiver, was almost certainly responsible for whatever happened to Jahi.
Now that the court case is over with and Tieray has nothing to fear due to double jeopardy rules, I wish he would just fess up to what happened to Jahi. It would at least give Tameka some peace.
I am proud that Tameka has been able to move on with her life and accomplish things after this awful event. She finished out her service in the Navy, is raising another son who’s now seventeen, and works for the University of Maryland.
I find myself wondering about the other teenage mothers of kids who have disappeared. Tanisha Watkins‘s mother was only sixteen when she disappeared. Donel Minor‘s mother was also a teenager. I don’t know what happened to the mothers. I hope they’re doing all right today.
I can’t believe the jury was unable to reach a verdict and the judge refused a second trial. The journal entry, the blood on the discarded clothing, the fact the kid was never at the park, the witnesses who saw the stepfather alone many times, his conflicting stories, etc. What happened of that kid if it wasn’t death?
If I were to speculate… I don’t think the jury thought he was actually innocent. I think they all believed he’d killed Jahi, but in their opinion there was not enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (A) he’d killed him and (B) it rose to the level of murder rather than manslaughter. If the jury had been permitted, perhaps they would have been willing to convict Tieray of manslaughter.
I don’t think double jeopardy applies here because he wasn’t acquitted, the jury just couldn’t reach a decision and the judge declined to order a new trial. This guys not going to talk. Unfortunately 😦
I think if a judge dismisses charges after a guy has already been brought to trial, that’s as good as getting acquitted, in terms of double jeopardy.
Obligatory “not a lawyer,” but I think double jeopardy only counts if a decision is reached by a jury of the defendant’s peers (or the judge in a bench trial). If charges are dismissed – even if the judge dismisses them – the state can refile.
Sounds like in this case, the jury deadlocked, the judge declared a mistrial and basically told the state to not come back until they have better evidence. If they ever get that, Katie bar the door, I hope.
Still – I know not every teenager who has a child isn’t mature enough for it, but I can’t imagine barely being out of childhood yourself and having to deal with something like this. Tameka and Jahi both deserved better.