Star Witness Delivers Grisly Testimony at Backyard Burial Case

The prosecution's star witness took the stand Thursday at the murder trial of of a man accused of burying his wife in their back yard.

Keith Turner allegedly strangled his wife, Toby Turner, to death in September 2005 before burying her body outside the Ramona residence.  "I remember him telling me she went crazy and he had to strangle her," Sean Turner testfied.

Sean Turner, 25, who is Toby's son and Keith's stepson, took the stand at his stepfather's trial on Thursday. According to investigators, Toby witnessed the murder and was asked to help bury his mom by his stepfather. "I was able to see my mother's body on the floor and keith was standing next to her," Turner testified. "He told me I needed to help him clean up the blood on the carpet."

Sean told the court Thursday that he kept quiet for the two years after his mother's slaying because of threats allegedly made by his stepfather. "He threatened me and I was afraid," said Turner. Sean came forward after Toby's body was found in November 2007.

For most of the morning, Sean answered questions from the prosecutor about his upbringing, and his relationships with his mother and stepfather. He also testified about the stress he caused his family two years prior to Toby's death after his conviction for vehicular manslaughter (Sean drove through a red light; a female passenger was killed in the wreck.)

"That wasn't something any of us were used to dealing with, especially someone losing their life in that accident," Sean testified.

Just before lunch, Sean began to testify about the events of Sept. 19, 2005, the day his mother died and also Keith's birthday. 

"Keith kind of directed me out the front door, and closed it and locked it" Sean said. 

Sean also testified that he heard "things breaking" and "arguing" from inside. He said that the commotion eventually stopped, and after 10 or more minutes of silence, he said he started hearing "dragging sounds" inside the home. 

Because of legal concerns about being targeted as an accomplice, prosecutors granted Sean immunity for his testimony. An official with the county's district attorney's office said nothing Sean testified about on the stand could be used against him.

Contact Us