Sixteen years after Jahi Turner disappeared, a retired police detective took the stand Wednesday and recalled one of the first interviews with the toddler’s mother.
Testifying at the murder trial of Turner’s step-father, retired San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Det. Terry Torgersen told the jury that Jahi’s mother, Tameka Jones, refused to accept the possibility that her husband, Tieray Jones, could have killed her son and fabricated an alibi about the toddler’s disappearance from a Golden Hill park.
“She got mad and walked out of our interview,” Torgersen said.
Torgersen confirmed prosecutor Nicole Rooney’s line of questioning about Tameka Jones’ reaction to questions about Tieray Jones’ possible involvement in Jahi’s disappearance and possible murder.
He said the prosecutor correctly described Tameka Jones as being “extremely upset” when confronted with evidence of her husband’s possible guilt.
Torgersen agreed that Tameka Jones appeared to be protecting Jones, and may have helped him fashion an alibi.
Fourteen years after that interview, Tameka Jones, now divorced from Tieray, came to doubt her former husband’s alibi.
She cooperated with San Diego Police cold case detectives and, with their assistance, placed a tape-recorded “pretext” phone call to Tieray Jones, in which he made statements that the prosecution says implicate him in Jahi’s death.
Those statements, and Tameka Jones’ testimony, led to Tieray Jones’ arrest for murder and are now important evidence in the case against him.
Testimony continues on Thursday, and the jury could hear closing arguments next Monday, March 12.
Earlier this week, the first of several defense witnesses, including Jones' current wife and his stepfather, testified and described him to jurors as a kind and gentle father, who never physically or emotionally abused his other children.