SALEM, Ore. — The lawyer of a man accused with his son in a bank bombing that killed two police officers said during closing arguments today that there was no evidence whoever planted the explosive wanted it to go off.
Bruce Turnidge’s lawyer, John Storkel, said that without the intent to kill, his client can’t be convicted of the most serious charge of aggravated murder.
But prosecutor Matt Kemmy dismissed the argument, saying Turnidge and his son, Joshua, could have built a fake bomb if they didn’t intend to create an explosion.
“You know how you build a bomb that doesn’t go off? It’s easy. You don’t build a real bomb,” Kemmy said. “They intended for it to maim and kill. That’s what they did. They are murderers.”
Bruce and Joshua Turnidge are charged with aggravated murder and other counts stemming from the 2008 explosion outside a Woodburn bank. They could face the death penalty if convicted.
Jurors began deliberations this afternoon but left for the night without reaching a verdict.
The bomb exploded as State Police bomb technician William Hakim tried to dismantle it, killing him and Woodburn police Capt. Tom Tennant. Woodburn Police Chief Scott Russell lost a leg, and a bank employee was slightly injured.
Defense lawyers argued that Hakim caused the bomb to explode by banging on it after he mistakenly concluded it was fake. Storkel said today the officers who died were heroes, but urged jurors to “set our emotions aside and look at the facts of the case and the facts of the evidence that’s before us.”
Prosecutors say the bomb was likely triggered by an ambient radio wave from a passing trucker CB device or something similar.
After closing arguments ended, Judge Tom Hart told jurors to consider each defendant’s case separately. The father and son have implicated each other and denied involvement in the plot.
Prosecutors say the two worked together. Authorities allege the pair hated authorities, were desperate for money and were afraid that a newly elected President Barack Obama would take away their guns.