Sirens & Gavels

Turnipseed guilty, but not of murder

A jury convicted a Spokane man of first-degree manslaughter today for the shooting death of a 24-year-old man more than two years ago.

Allan L. Turnipseed faces at least 11 years in prison for the fatal shooting of Joshua A. Smith on June 14, 2007. Turnipseed, who was taken into custody after the verdict, had been charged with second-degree murder but the jury found him guilty of the lesser charge.

Turnipseed, 52, claimed self defense and said Smith was trying to run him over when he was shot.

The two-week trial was the second in the case. In April, a mistrial was declared after a jury couldn't reach a verdict. In that trial, the jury was not allowed to consider a lesser charge.

First-degree manslaughter carries sentence of 78 to 102 months in prison. Turnipseed faces five extra years because a firearm was involved.

Smith’s death came after two encounters with Turnipseed on consecutive days in the neighborhood of Eighth Avenue and Ferrall Street near Turnipseed’s home.

Smith had dropped a co-worker off at a nearby house before driving past Turnipseed’s home, where a friend tossed a beer can from the car into a trash-filled container outside the home and Turnipseed yelled at them, according to police reports.

That confrontation ended with Turnipseed retreating to his home after he said Smith went to retrieve a tire iron from the trunk of his car, but the two saw each other the next day while driving in the same area. Smith again had a tire iron.

That confrontation ended with Turnipseed firing two shots from his .380 Colt pistol at Smith as Smith was in the driver’s seat of his Mazda.

"When Mr. Smith tried to drive away, Mr. Turnipseed tried to block his car and conduct a citizen's arrest.  Mr Smith was shot once in the chest and once in the back and died soon afterwards," according to an email from Judge Sam Cozza, who presided over the case. "Evidence was also adduced that Mr. Turnipseed had smoked marijuana just before the incident. Mr Turnipseed said he had gotten the idea of conducting a citizen's arrest from a television program."




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