69-year-old gets 69 years
Collins told them he’s been on the bench for many years, and to this day, is still searching for the appropriate thing to say at a time like this.
He sentenced the 69-year-old McMinnville resident to the equivalent of a life prison sentence — approaching 69 years — during a hearing held Friday in Yamhill County Circuit Court. The years added up, as Collins made many of the sentences consecutive.
In addition, he ordered a period of post-prison supervision, in addititon to fees and “reasonable restitution.”
Shortly after being taken into custody, Turnbow posted 10 percent of his $1.6 million bail to secure his release. His financial obligations could come out of that.
Earlier this year, a jury of two women and 10 men found the retired truck driver guilty on 25 of 28 Measure 11 counts of first-degree sexual abuse and first-degree sexual penetration with a foreign object.
The victims, currently 19 to 25, ranged in age from 4 to 10 at the time. He was accused of abusing them in the hot tub and the bedroom of his home between 1995 and 1997.
All five reported being abused in Turnbow’s backyard hot tub. One, who stayed with Turnbow and his wife for a time, also reported being abused by him in their bedroom.
The jury rendered 12-0 decisions on five counts, 11-1 decisions on six counts and 10-2 decisions on 14 counts. The jury’s votes on the three no-verdict counts were 9-3, 8-4 and 6-6, not reaching the 10-vote threshold required to convict.
Deputy District Attorney Kate Petersen lobbied for a 100-year sentence.
Count-by-count, she described the abuse as it related to each victim, three of whom were listening in the courtroom and two others by speaker phone from out of state. She said the trial was excruciating for them.
Turnbow’s privately retained appointed attorney, Amy Margolis of Portland, argued for a 100-month sentence — about eight years. She suggested the sentence be applied to one of the most serious charges and that other sentences run concurrently.
She cited her client’s failing health as the primary reason.
Turnbow is a diabetic who underwent quadruple bypass surgery in the late 1990s. He collapsed at one point during the trial and had to be hospitalized briefly, but authorities said the incident was not cardiac in nature.
Margolis said a lengthy sentence would serve to impose a “medical burden” on the state Department of Corrections in addition to amounting to a life sentence for her client.
“This is not about practical considerations,” Collins responded. “It is about a form of justice.
“It was egregious and horrific conduct. This brings some form of closure.”
One of the victims participating by speaker phone told the court she was just now learning to trust again. She said it has taken years for her to address the ongoing effects.
“Some of you may have had a hard time hearing what she said,” Collins told those present for the sentencing hearing. “But I agree.
“This was not something that just happened. Abuse like this inflicts lifetime scars, and some of that scarring will never go away. Five lives have been dramatically affected.”
When the father of one of the victims got his turn to address the court, he pointed a finger at the wheelchair-bound Turnbow and said, “You got what you deserve.” When Turnbow attempted to respond, the father shut him off.
He went on to point a finger at Turnbow’s wife, Margaret, sitting in the front row of the courtroom. He told her she wasn’t welcome around any of the vicims or their families.
Collins had heard enough by that point and asked him to sit down.
Given an opportunity to address the court on his own behalf, Turnbow once again denied the allegations in their entirety, as he had from the stand at trial.
“Nothing happened,” he said. “I am not guilty.”
Someone sitting on the victim’s side of the courtroom make a comment in response, and Collins threatened to have the unidentified person removed.
As the hearing was concluding, the man who had provoked Collins earlier by calling out the defendant and his wife stood to offer an apology. “Accepted,” Collins told him.
Before being wheeled from the courtroom, Turnbow asked Collins to afford his wife some protection. He said threats had been made against the family.
Collins responded by saying he didn’t think the victims and anyone associated with them would want to have any further interaction with him or his wife.
On the way out, the defendant turned toward his wife and said, “I love you. I’ll be back.”