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With conviction overturned, Dustin Turner remains locked up

05:39 PM EDT on Monday, August 10, 2009

Reported by: Wayne Carter


VIRGINIA BEACH -- Former Navy SEAL trainee Dustin Turner has been in prison for more than a decade, charged with murdering a tourist at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.

The court threw out the murder conviction last week after another SEAL trainee admitted he was behind the murder.

The family was ready to celebrate, until the Commonwealth announced it was planning to appeal.

"I was numb, confused. It is very difficult to explain my feelings at the time," said Turner in an exclusive interview with 13News.

Almost fifteen years later, Dustin Turner still can't explain his actions on that night back in 1995. He and his fellow seal trainee Billy Joe Brown were at a nightclub in what's now the Virginia Beach Doubletree.

They met a 21-year old student from Georgia named Jennifer Evans. Hours later, she was dead and the men were burying her body.

"Seeing this innocent young lady deceased is something really very difficult," said Turner.

The former church deacon and Boy Scout always swore he didn't do it. Then last year, his trainee partner admitted he did it alone, and a new law gave him a chance to be heard.

But every time a court has ruled, the losing side has appealed, and the case drags on.

"I can't have a victory celebration until I walk out those doors. It does get frustrating. It's difficult to have a full celebration,” said Turner.

"Billy Joe Brown is a liar. The question is, when did he lie?" asked Virginia Beach Commonweath's Attorney Harvey Bryant. He hopes Turner never has a celebration day, but says ultimately the case will end.

"This is ultimately going to go to the Virginia Supreme Court, so we're probably in this for a year and a half or another 2 years," said Bryant.

While he waits, Turner has to sit behind bars where he reads, works out, and asks for forgiveness.

“A couple of weeks ago I wrote to Jennifer Evans’ family, and I perhaps hypocritically asked them to forgive me for what I’ve done, and yet at the same time I still can’t find it in myself to forgive Billy Brown,” said Turner.

Bryant said he’s glad that Virginia’s Attorney General appealed the case and he still does not believe Turner’s story.

“It’s hard to believe he just sat in the car and did nothing,” said Bryant.