Followers of Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh launched a plot to kill then-U.S. Attorney Charles Turner in 1985 because they wanted to derail an immigration fraud investigation, a woman testified Monday.
Two former high-ranking Rajneeshees, Sally-Anne Croft and Susan Hagan, are on trial in U.S. District Court on charges of conspiring to kill Turner. The women were extradited from England after a long legal battle.
Ava Avalos testified Monday that she was part of a hit team that was assigned to kill Turner in 1985 while federal investigators were looking into sham marriages at the commune.
“The idea was that if we killed him, that would interrupt the investigation, and that would give us more time,” Avalos said.
Avalos, 35, said she helped stake out Turner’s rural home and the federal courthouse where he worked in downtown Portland to find the best place to shoot him.
She said she was able to return to the federal prosecutor’s house to show investigators that she knew its location.