Alleged abuser collapses in court
He was transported from the Yamhill County Courthouse by McMinnville Fire Department ambulance to the Willamette Valley Medical Center. He has been released from the hospital.
The trial was tentatively scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. today, but has now been pushed ahead to 9 a.m. Monday, according to Deputy District Attorney Kate Petersen. She is prosecuting the case.
Turnbow, 68, was seated to the left of privately retained attorney, Amy Margolis of Portland, at the defense table. He requires oxygen, and a tank was positioned beside him.
He collapsed during a break.
Judge John Collins cleared the courtroom of all but attorneys, court personnel and people close to the defendant. After being tended to in the courtroom for a time, he was wheeled to a waiting ambulance.
Turnbow, a retired long-haul trucker making his home in Southwest McMinnville, stands accused of abusing five girls, ages 4 to 10 at the time, in the hot tub and bedroom of his home in 1995, 1996 and 1997.
He was indicted by a grand jury on three counts of first-degree sexual penetration with a foreign object, a Class A felony, and 29 counts of first-degree sexual abuse, a Class B felony. One of the abuse charges was subsequently dismissed.
All 31 remaining counts are punishable by lengthy mandatory-minimum prison sentences under Measure 11.
Turnbow was served with the indictment on Sept. 10, 2010. The case has since been set for trial six times, but mostly due to defense delays, never gone forward previously. In the meantime, he has remained free of custody.
Three of Turnbow’s accusers are now in their 20s. The other two are teenagers
One of the teens, between 4 and 6 at the time, was the first to come forward. Through the investigation and interviews, more victims were gradually identified.
At the time, Turnbow was driving commercially, mostly between Oregon and California. In a probable cause affidavit, detective Michelle Formway said one of the victims recalled Turnbow telling her, “Just shut your mouth,” as he fondled her in a backyard hot tub.
All victims reported being abused in the hot tub. One, who stayed with Turnbow and his wife for a time, also reported being abused by him in their bedroom.
Turnbow collapsed after one of the victims had just finished testifying for the prosecution.
Last October, Turnbow had been scheduled to accept a plea agreement and undergo sentencing. However, he failed to appear.
Margolis told the court that medical issues had left him unable to drive.
The father of one of his victims responded by saying Turnbow was simply “manipulating and playing the system.” He said the defendant had recently been seen both driving and working in his yard.