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'I told them, "I think that guy downstairs is dead"': teen witness at murder trial

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A key witness at Wanda Bruce's murder trial gave testimony this afternoon that was in stark contrast to what the witness told the court a year ago.

The witness, 17, who cannot be named due to a publication ban, was at the North Point Douglas rooming house two years ago when Solomon Turner got into a fight with Wanda Bruce and Lloyd Lindsay.

The witness was testifying in the third day of the judge-and-jury trial of Wanda Bruce, 34, who is charged with second-degree murder. Turner, 46, bled to death in the basement of the rooming house on Austin Street North on May 10, 2011. Lindsay has already pleaded guilty in the case and was sentenced.

The witness told court this afternoon that Bruce and Lindsay attacked Turner as he tried to leave, dragged him back into the residence and kicked and punched him across the main floor of the rooming house before forcing him to the basement, where it looked like one of them killed Turner.

But defence counsel Greg Brodsky reminded the witness that at Bruce’s preliminary trial a year ago, the witness testified that Bruce wanted Turner to leave the rooming house, that Turner attacked Bruce and that Bruce was worried about Turner’s condition.

Turner was found dead in the basement of the rooming house by police. He bled to death within minutes of a fatal stab wound to the back of his thigh. A murder weapon was never found and no physical evidence has linked Bruce to Turner’s death.

Suspects had spent day drinking beer, mouthwash: witness

The witness, who was 15 at the time, had been visiting at the rooming house.

The witness said that Bruce’s boyfriend, Bruce and Lindsay had spent the day drinking large bottles of cheap beer and mouthwash before Bruce and Lindsay attacked Turner as he tried to leave the house.

The witness, who claimed to be the only sober person in the house at the time, testified to seeing Bruce pick up a large wooden-handled knife from a table and then join Lindsay as he pushed Turner into the basement.

The witnes said when Bruce and Lindsay returned a couple of minutes later, Bruce no longer had the knife.

The witness said they asked the witness to look in on Turner a few minutes later and found Turner unresponsive and lying in a pool of blood.

"I told them, ‘I think that guy downstairs is dead,’" the witness said.

Under cross-examination, Brodsky said the witness testified a year earlier that Bruce came up from the basement and said that she was worried that Lindsay had killed Turner.

Witness tells court he never saw victim stabbed

Earlier in the day's testimony, Lloyd Lindsay admitted fighting with Turner the day he died, and said he took Turner to the basement of the rooming house they shared but only so Turner could cool down.

Lindsay was arrested the next day and charged with second-degree murder. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter May 17, 2012 and was sentenced to eight years.

Lindsay said that he and Bruce, 34, fought with Turner the day he died but added that he never saw Bruce attack Turner with a knife or any other kind of weapon.

Lindsay said that he suffers from memory loss as a result of having a portion of his brain removed in 2010 to control seizures.

During cross-examination this morning by defence counsel Greg Brodsky, Lindsay contradicted testimony he gave Wednesday, when he said he had struck Turner with a long, wooden handle or table leg. This morning, Lindsay said he never attacked Turner with a table leg.

Lindsay also did not recall telling police when arrested that he had not fought with Turner that day.


Updated on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 5:17 PM CDT: Adds Kelly's testimony.

May 24, 2013 at 9:37 AM: removes witness's name and identifying details due to publication ban

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