Conviction in 1980 Wilkes-Barre murder upheld by appellate court

By Ed Lewis - [email protected]
Turner -

A state appellate court Wednesday determined a Wilkes-Barre man serving a life sentence for a 1980 fatal shooting was 30 years too late in challenging his conviction.

It is the fourth time William Joseph Turner, 63, has appealed the Luzerne County jury’s verdict handed down in March 1981. He was convicted in the second-degree murder of Everal “Ben” Eaton, then 26, inside 60 Carey Ave., Wilkes-Barre, on Aug. 14, 1980.

Turner forced his way inside the apartment of his estranged wife and found the woman and Eaton in a bedroom. Turner raised a shotgun and fired, striking Eaton in the face and neck and instantly killing him.

Trial Judge Arthur Dalessandro imposed the life sentence as required by state law for second-degree murder. Turner is currently an inmate at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas, Jackson Township.

Turner previously appealed the severity of the verdict. He argued the evidence presented at trial didn’t rise to the second-degree murder conviction and his trial lawyers were ineffective.

The state Supreme Court refused to hear Turner’s appeal in May 1984, after the state Superior Court twice upheld his conviction and sentence.

“…Any petition, in order to be facially timely, would have to be filed on or before July 31, 1985. The instant petition filed on March 23, 2016, is thirty-years too late,” a three-member panel of the Superior Court ruled Wednesday.

Turner alleged in his latest attempt at relief that his trial lawyers were ineffective in failing to tell him about a plea offer by prosecutors of third-degree murder, which would had resulted in a lesser term.

The state Superior Court ruled Turner’s claim of ineffective trial lawyers had already been debated in his earlier appeals.


By Ed Lewis

[email protected]