NCIS agent: Airman may have struggled with killer
May 12, 2006
NAVAL AIR STATION KEFLAVIK, Iceland — Evidence in the room where Airman 1st Class Ashley Turner was attacked last August suggests she may have struggled with her killer, the case’s lead investigator told a military panel Wednesday.
The disposition of exercise equipment in the room and the body’s location, plus the apparent movement of a poster and other evidence shows that Turner may have resisted her attacker, Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent Fredrick Ewell said.
Ewell was responding to questions from the investigating officer, Col. Mark Allred, during the Article 32 hearing of Airman Calvin E. Hill of Keflavik’s 56th Rescue Squadron. Hill has been charged with the premeditated murder of Turner.
Ewell, the last prosecution witness in the two-day hearing that ended Wednesday, provided a number of details about the crime previously undisclosed by investigators.
Under questioning from both Allred and Air Force prosecutor Maj. Robert Luttrell, Ewell testified that blood had been found on the lace of a pair of shoes seized from Hill’s dorm room, and said one witness stated she saw him running from the building the night of the murder.
Last Aug. 14, Turner was found lying facedown in a pool of blood in a small room adjacent to the exercise room in a dorm she shared with Hill. Turner later was found to have died from head trauma and a stab wound to the neck.
Ewell also revealed that investigators have not found the weapon used to stab Turner and are analyzing several weights from the exercise room to see if they were used to bludgeon the 20-year-old.
At the time, Turner was waiting to testify against Hill in his court-martial on charges that he stole about $2,800 from her by using her bank card.
Ewell said it was his opinion that a “totality” of the evidence connected Hill to the murder. Ewell said he was not confident that evidence pointed to Turner’s boyfriend, Airman Ronald Ellis, who also was based at Keflavik.
The defense also focused on Ellis’ relationship to Turner, questioning a friend of Turner’s, Senior Airman Amber Bullins.
Bullins testified by telephone that Turner and Ellis had a turbulent relationship and had an argument the night before the murder. Bullins also said Ellis would have been upset if he knew Turner had told her he was facing drug charges.
The hearing wrapped up late Wednesday and Allred will now recommend whether the charges against Hill should go forward to a court-martial.