Man accused of murdering girlfriend found competent

Defense for Travis Turner wants second evaluation

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

TEXARKANA, Texas -- A man accused of strangling his girlfriend to death last year talked over the judge and his lawyer Monday at a pretrial hearing in Bowie County.

Travis Alston Turner, 28, allegedly took the life of 29-year-old Jennifer Garrett at a residence Aug. 12, 2021, in the 6200 block of Summerhill Place. Turner was arrested the same day and has been in custody since.

Turner blurted out statements as 202nd District Judge John Tidwell called the case Monday morning.

"I don't want him," Turner said of his retained lawyer, Ron Davis of Little Rock.

Tidwell announced that a mental evaluation of Turner ordered in October last year includes a finding of competency.

"So we're proceeding," Tidwell said.

As Turner stood mumbling beside him, Davis told the court he is experiencing difficulty communicating with Turner about his case.

In order to be found competent, a defendant must be able to assist his lawyer in preparation for trial.

Davis asked the court for permission to arrange a second mental evaluation by an independent expert. Bowie County District Attorney Jerry Rochelle said the state would not object to Davis' request.

Turner's outbursts led Tidwell to mention that he could arrange to "muzzle" Turner at future hearings if needed.

"I talk for myself," Turner said.

As Turner was led back to the jail, the courtroom emptied as most of the seats were occupied by members of Garrett's family and friends.

Turner faces five to 99 years or life in prison if convicted of murder in Garrett's death.

After Garrett failed to show for work Aug. 12, 2021, her friends went to the residence to check on her. Turner allegedly only slightly opened the door to tell the friends that Garrett hadn't been home since the previous night, although her car was at the home.

The friends reportedly parked nearby and waited until Turner left in a black BMW before making entry into the residence. Police were called when Garrett was discovered deceased on the couch.

Turner returned to the residence while police were on scene and was arrested.

Turner is facing other criminal charges in Bowie County, Texas, and in Miller County, Arkansas.

A little more than two weeks before Garrett's death, he was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence in Bowie County assault involving his mother, according to court records. After Turner's arrest on the murder charge, County Court at Law Judge Craig Henry granted a motion seeking revocation of Turner's bond in the misdemeanor case. That means he is being held without bond in Bowie County.

Turner is facing charges of battery and terroristic acts in Miller County. He allegedly shot at a house, injuring one, Feb. 26, in Texarkana, Arkansas, according to court records. Turner was released from the Miller County jail March 4 after posting a $50,000 bond.

After his arrest in Garrett's death, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney David Cotten filed a motion to revoke Turner's bond in the Arkansas case that was granted by a Miller County circuit judge. That means that even if Turner resolves his charges in Texas, he will not be freed, since he is wanted by authorities in Arkansas.

Upcoming Events