TRAVIS TURNER TRIAL | Testimony focuses on alleged murderer’s injuries, resistance to investigation

Travis Turner
Travis Turner

Editor's Note: Because of weather-related early deadlines, this article includes testimony from Wednesday and Thursday.


NEW BOSTON, Texas -- Detectives and crime scene officers testified Thursday about injuries found on Travis Turner after he was taken to the Bi-State Justice Building to be interviewed. Officers also testified about the struggle they had trying to obtain DNA from Turner.

"He was very uncooperative and we had to call in multiple officers to restrain him," Texarkana Crime Scene Detective Eric Winters testified.

Winters described a "red and swollen injury" on the inside of Turner's left pinky finger. Winters testified that Turner became "more agitated" when detectives focused on injuries to his left hand.

Turner is charged with murder in the death of Jennifer Rose Garrett, 29, of Texarkana, Texas, on Aug. 11, 2021. Turner and Garrett met at Texas High School and had dated on and off for a number of years, according to testimony.

Texarkana Texas Police Crime Scene Investigator Marc Sillivan testified for more than hour Wednesday morning and described the crime scene to witnesses. Under questioning by First Assistant Bowie County District Attorney Kelley Crisp, Sillivan testified there was no sign of forced entry in Garrett's apartment. Sillivan also testified that he believed Garrett had died on the couch, had not been moved from the couch and had been dead 10 to 12 hours before she was discovered.

Texarkana Texas Police Sgt. Brad Thacker testified as a video of Turner in the police interview room played.

The video showed Thacker entering the interview room and telling Turner to stop picking his fingernails.

Thacker explained detectives were waiting on a warrant to obtain fingernail evidence. When Turner continued to pick at his fingernails, officers handcuffed him.

Winters said it took four or five officers to obtain the photos they needed as part of the search warrant. The officers had to hold Turner against the wall to take the photos they needed, according to the video and Winter's testimony.

"I'm not even under arrest," Turner can he heard saying on the video.

According to the video, detectives told Turner he was under arrest for murder.

After, Turner was placed in a restraint chair and taken to the jail. The chair has straps and is used to transport someone who is less than compliant, detectives testified. Once he was in the jail, Turner was photographed with his shirt off so detectives could obtain photos of scratches on his chest.

Crisp questioned Texarkana Texas Police Department Detective Cliff Harris, the lead detective on the case, about phone records from Garrison's phone. Harris also testified that Turner's phone did not have minutes on it until the morning of Aug. 12, when he went to Walmart.

Crisp also questioned Harris about the roughly 10 minutes of time between Turner leaving the apartment that morning and Garrison's friends entering the apartment and finding her body.

"There was about a 10-minute window for someone to have moved her into her apartment. Is that reasonable?" Crisp asked. Harris said it was not reasonable in his opinion.

In cross examination, Craytor asked Harris if he had noticed any injuries on Turner when Turner first returned to the scene of the murder. Harris said he did not. Craytor also asked Harris if he had known Turner's nails were "clipped close" by police while they were gathering DNA. Harris said he had no knowledge of that.

On Wednesday afternoon, Lindsey Strother, who lived in the same fourplex as Garrett, testified about offering medical assistance after Garrett's friends found her on the couch. Garrett was a student at University of Arkansas for Medical Science at the time.

Strother testified she offered to check Garrett's pulse though she could tell that Garrett was already dead.

"I could not feel any warmth in her arm. It just felt like ice," Strother said.

Strother testified she told Garrett's friends, "She's been gone for a while. There is nothing we can do."

If convicted of murder, Turner faces five to 99 years or life in the Texas Department of Corrections.

Testimony is expected to continue at 10 a.m. Friday at the Bowie County Courthouse in New Boston.

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