Murder victim easily bought the weapon that killed him

TRENTON — Mike Whitaker, slain in a domestic violence incident, purchased the apparently hair-triggered gun that killed him under Pennsylvania’s easy rules for getting deadly weapons.

Ivelis Turell, charged with killing him, said in an audio tape played in court Thursday that Whitaker showed his Pennsylvania driver license and had no trouble coming home with the silver 9mm Ruger.

Some weeks before the gun took his life, according to testimony at Turell’s trial, the automatic handgun had gone off accidentally when in the hands of her 6-year-old and the bullet passed through the shirt her 2-year-old was wearing.

Turell’s former laywer, Tim Smith, told The Trentonian before the trial that Whitaker often threatened her with it, made her play Russian Roulette and ignored the city cops and relatives who told him to get rid of the automatic handgun.

But Whitaker said he was more afraid of local gangbangers than of the cops, the woman is heard saying on the tape that was played in the courtroom of Mercer County Superior Court Judge Pedro Jimenez.

Turell, sometimes in hysterics, told the story to Detective Edgar Rios the afternoon after she fatally gunned down Whitaker the night of April 30, 2007. For weeks, she said on the tape, the couple had argued about the gun being in the house and the danger it posed to her little boys.

She also tells Rios on the tape that the couple argued often about him running up bills for things like car rims on her credit card.

The night of the slaying, Turell says in the tape interview, she followed Whitaker upstairs to their bedroom because she knew he was getting the gun there. When she got there, the gun was on the bed near her sleeping 2-year-old.

She told Rios, who confirmed what he was told from the witness stand, that the gun went off and hit Whitaker as they were “struggling” for the weapon. Earlier that same day, however, she had told Detective Scott Peterson she alone had possession of the gun when it went off – the statement that got her charged with the slaying.

Turell also said on the tape that after shooting Whitaker, she took the gun downstairs and it accidentally fire again into a kitchen wall. Then she somehow shot herself with the handgun.

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