The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Cops, courts and fires

February 5, 2013

Man sentenced to 18 years for killing K-9

ANDERSON, Ind. — Dozens of police officers filled Madison Circuit Courtroom 6 on Tuesday morning to watch closure come to a K-9 shooting from last summer.

Joseph E. Turner, 22, of Anderson, was sentenced to 18 years — 12 fully executed in the Department of Correction plus six years on probation. Turner pleaded guilty in January to striking a law enforcement animal, armed robbery and a litany of other felonies and misdemeanors for an incident on Aug. 18.

Turner admitted to shooting and killing police dog Magnum during a chase after a morning bank robbery. The case gained attention as the second on-duty death of an Anderson K-9 unit last summer.

Judge Dennis Carroll distinguished a sentence of two fully executed years for the shooting of Magnum from the 16-year sentence for the rest of the charges.

“The principal aggravator is the severe nature of these crimes, particularly the killing of an animal,” Carroll said.

Turner’s attorney, Anthony Lawrence, said that Turner suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, a result of time Turner spent in the Army. Since his service, Turner has turned to substance abuse to cope with the stress.

Part of Turner’s probation will require him to participate in the new veterans court, receive a mental health evaluation and take advantage of substance-abuse treatment programs, Carroll said.

“We have no way of telling what’s in your heart or mind, but you pleaded guilty and said you’re sorry. I’m going to take you at your word,” Carroll said.

Turner also agreed to show officers the location of the weapon he used during the incident, something deputy prosecutor Jeff Lockwood said Turner had not done yet.

Matt Jarrett, Magnum’s handler, received hugs and handshakes from officers as he left the courtroom. Jarrett wiped away tears as he described time he spent with Magnum.

“It was hard. I’m glad it’s over and I’m ready to move on,” Jarrett said. “You see the support here. It’s been tough on the community and police officers and my family. It’s been a day I’ve tried to forget about, but I knew it was coming. It was a chapter of life that we can move on from.”

Jarrett said he’s been assigned a new dog named Hoss, who has already started to bond with him and his family.

“This is the second dog I’ve had since Magnum passed away, just because it wasn’t there. It’s a bond. It’s a struggle to get that,” Jarrett said.

Find Jack Molitor on Facebook and @AggieJack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.

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