Livingston Texas, November 16, 2010: Christa Turnbull testifies in Judge David Wilson's Court during her assault trial.
Christa Turnbull Pronounced Not Guilty by Jury, LIVINGSTON, November 16, 2010 - Late in the afternoon on November 16, 2010, a Polk County Jury found Christa Turnbull, 54, of Livingston, not guilty for the crime of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Turnbull was booked into Polk County Jail on November 12, 2009 and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after a dispute occurred in her house involving home repairs. According to testimonies from Judge David Wilson's Court, the contractor (Burt Harris) was called out to Turnbull's house by Turnbull. When Harris arrived and dispute erupted in her house and Harris pushed Turnbull over a chair and then attacked her, grabbing her wrist and beating her. The dispute was over an $800 payment that Harris was seeking from Turnbull for work done on her house. Turnbull testified in court that during the scuffle, she went for a gun that was under some newspapers nearby and grabbed the gun. During the scuffle the gun went off striking Turnbull in the leg. "I vaguely remember the gun going off", Turnbull stated from the witness stand, "...the next thing I know, I'm on a gurney". Harris managed to get the gun from Turnbull and take it out of the house. The Polk County Sheriff's Office was summoned. Turnbull was flown to Houston and released from the Hospital 2 days later and booked into Polk County Jail. Turnbull was admittedly on prescription medication and vodka when the altercation occurred.
Prosecutor Lee Hon pointed out that the deputy who responded to the disturbance arrived to find Turnbull intoxicated. Hon emphasized to jurors statements by Turnbull from a video interview with investigators: "I can understand if I go to jail" she said in the interview, she also stated "I've been an idiot". The self damning statements apparently were not enough to persuade jurors of Turnbull's guilt. Hon also argued that Turnbull never indicated that she was in fear for her life during the taped interview. Turnbull's confession to being on medication and vodka prompted Hon to point out to the jury "Mr. Harris is lucky to be alive". Hon also pointed out that only days before the altercation occurred, Turnbull had acquired a hand gun and had test fired it outside (the same gun that she grabbed during the altercation).
Defense Attorney Tom Brown told the jury "What we have here is Burt Harris trying to extort money", "...his temper got the best of him", "This is a case of self defense" Brown said. Brown further argued that this was a scheme by the Harris family to take advantage of her. Hon argued, "How can it be their scheme when she was the one who called them to her house?". The jury deliberated for over an hour before returning the not guilty verdict.
Original Story Below
Christa Turnbull, 53, of Livingston, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
Shooting Victim Arrested for Assault, LIVINGSTON, November 13, 2009 - A confirmed shooting occurred in the Shelter Cove subdivision of Polk County. Shortly before 4 pm on November 10, 2009, a disturbance was reported at the residence of Christa Turnbull, 53, of Livingston. Deputies from the Polk County Sheriff's Office responded to the call and arrived to find Turnbull with a gunshot wound to the leg. Life Flight was summoned and Turnbull was transported to Hermann Hospital in Houston. The shooting occurred when it is alleged that there was a dispute between Turnbull and a construction contractor. Preliminarily, Turnbull is suspected of shooting at the contractor, that's when the scuffle ensued. During the scuffle, it is believed that the gun went off striking Turnbull in the leg. After a preliminary investigation, and once Turnbull was cleared from the hospital, Turnbull was arrested on the afternoon of Thursday November 12 and booked into Polk County Jail and charged with assault with a deadly weapon. The incident remains under investigation.
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