Turell doesn’t want kids to see her face in the paper

TRENTON — Ivelis Turell, on trial for allegedly shooting her boyfriend to death, doesn’t want her kids to see her picture in the newspapers.

She would not cooperate Thursday morning even after a judge gave The Trentonian permission to get photos of her in the courtroom while the jury was not present.

Her lawyer, Steve Slaven, said during a sidebar with the newspaper, judge and prosecutors that his client would have to consent before the paper could start snapping — though New Jersey Supreme Court rules say the judge and lawyers, not the suspect, must set the boundaries.

Turell is charged with shooting her boyfriend, heating and cooling technician Michael Stephen Whitaker, on May 2, 2007. The case against Turell was tossed out in November 2008 by Mercer County Superior Court Judge Thomas P. Kelly, who said he thought it was 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.

Tim Smith, Turell’s former lawyer, told The Trentonian Turell was a victim of domestic violence for years and that Whitaker routinely made her play Russian roulette with his handgun.

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.

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