Turell murder trial begins Wednesday
TRENTON — Jury selection starts Wednesday in the case of the woman who already has convinced one judge it was self-defense when she fatally shot her boyfriend and took a bullet to the shoulder in a struggle with him in 2007.
Ivelis Turell, of the 200 block of Ferry Street, has been indicted twice on homicide and weapons charges for the shooting death of Michael Whitaker, 35, on May 2 of that year.
The case against Turell was tossed out in November 2008 by Mercer County Superior Court Judge Thomas P. Kelly, who said he thought the case was one of self-defense in a domestic violence event.
But Assistant Mercer Prosecutor Skylar Weissman again presented the case to a grand jury with more charges, and Turell was indicted again. She’s now free on $250,000 bail.
Turell was offered a plea agreement in which she would plead guilty to manslaughter for a seven-year, 85 percent, prison term, but she turned it down. She faces 30 years to life in prison if found guilty at trial.
Earlier this month, just as jury selection was to begin, Turell asked the court to permit her to return to an attorney who dropped her months ago, Tim Smith. She was denied and appealed.
The appeals court returned a ruling in days, denying the woman’s request.