WAPAKONETA — Details into the 2018 shooting death of Dexter Turner started to slowly emerge Friday during a suppression hearing for one of the three individuals charged in the man’s death.
The hearing was held in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court at the request of attorneys for Keith Waddell Jr., 31, of Columbus, who were seeking to quash statements their client made to police and also to keep comments made by a confidential police informant who was housed with Waddell in the Mercer County jail from reaching the ears of potential jurors in the case.
Waddell, also known as Keith Tyrone and Keith Bitting, is one of three persons charged with the murder of Dexter Turner and the shooting of his son, Alim Turner, at the Dockside Apartments south of St. Marys on April 11, 2018.
Auglaize County officials received a 911 call at approximately 3:22 a.m. that day in regard to a shooting. It was subsequently learned that Dexter Turner, 47, was killed and his son, Alim Amir Turner, 25, was shot and injured.
There had been no new public developments announced in the case during the ensuing 17 months until mid-September 2019, when Solomon issued a statement that three people had been arrested in connection with the case.
Charged with murder were Waddell, Jacar Bitting, 27, and Syniqua Bell, 31, all of the Columbus area.
During more than three hours on the witness stand Friday, Allen County Sheriff’s Office Detective Lt. Doug Burke recounted his attempts to interview Waddell, first at a Columbus police station in the presence of members of that department’s gang task force and later at the Lebanon Correctional Institute.
Waddell refused to waive his right to remain silent during the first attempted interview but did agree to talk to Burke on the second occasion some three months later.
Defense Attorney James Owen argued in court Friday that Burke violated Waddell’s constitutional rights by attempting to re-initate a jailhouse interview with the defendant and sought to have any and all statements investigators gleaned from their conversation suppressed at trial.
Questioned by Auglaize County Assistant Prosecutor John Muhlenkamp, Burke testified that during his interview with Alim Turner following the shooting he learned that Turner and Jacar Bitting knew each other after serving time together in prison and that Waddell had been to Turner’s apartment three days prior to the April 11 shooting.
Owen also sought to suppress two photo lineups Burke had presented to Alim Turner that led to the identification of Waddell, also known as “Kane,” and Bitting, whose nickname was “Bear,” as suspects in the St. Marys shooting.
Jacar Bitting and Bell each appeared in court earlier this week for pre-trial hearings.