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Reklaw man gets life in prison for homicide

By Jimmy Alford
Aug. 3, 2010 at 7 p.m.

Joe Don Turner, 34, of Reklaw, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole Monday.

Pleading guilty spared Turner the death penalty.

District court Judge J. Clay Gossett handed down the sentence after Turner admitted to killing Eugene Snitker, 86, of Reklaw.

According to investigators, Turner was living with his grandparents, after serving a prison sentence for manslaughter. Snitker lived next door, and Turner had asked for money from Snitker in the past. Snitker believed Turner had a drug problem and did not want to feed Turner's addiction, according to court reports.

District Attorney Investigator William Brown said Turner then robbed and killed his 86-year-old neighbor with a crescent wrench. Turner was later apprehended in Dallas, where he confessed to the murder. Turner led investigators to the area where he had discarded the wrench, which was recovered and later analyzed.

According to reports, Turner was indicted in late April. Brown said a plea agreement had been worked out by District Attorney Micheal Jimerson, before Jimerson had emergency brain surgery.

"(Turner) was smart enough to know the case was stacked against him," Brown said. "He came through and made his plea, and saved the family a lot of grief of having to go through a lengthy trial. He'll be in prison for the rest of his life."

Snitker's wife of 26 years Helen Snitker stood in court and said she forgave Turner for his crime, and hopes that his gift of continued life will give him time to reflect upon his actions, according to court reports. Court reports also stated Turner expressed remorse for killing Snitker, throughout the investigation.



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