Important Support Letters
John Floyd, LCDR, (SEAL) USN, Retired
Date: 26 Oct 2015
Sub: PAROLE ACTION FOR DUSTIN TURNER
Dear Governor McAuliffe,
I was the naval officer who investigated (for the navy) Dustin Turner and Billy Joe Brown’s involvement in the murder of Jennifer Evans in Virginia Beach, Virginia over twenty years ago. My investigation stemmed from the parents of Jennifer Evans charges that the Navy SEAL program recruited misdirected personnel and trained them to hate women. I never met any of the involved parties and stayed unbiased from personal contact.
Going into the investigation, I did have a preconceived opinion of the then hated SEAL trainees for their much reported crime and the shadow they placed on the SEAL TEAMS. I have never met a SEAL yet who does not loathe them both, however, very few, if any had the true facts as investigated; that I had. The media expanded the issue and its ongoing sensationalism flamed hate for the accused and damaged the SEAL image for many in the community. The city and local justice system demanded a quick conclusion to the case and those involved were in the news constantly.
I have a degree in Criminal Justice and was a police officer in Tampa, Florida for seven years. While that had nothing to do with my being assigned to investigate this portion of the case, I did have more experience and understanding of the criminal mindset, patterns, cause and effect and investigative experience in similar cases than expected of a career naval officer. I have been bothered by this case for twenty years and have always felt Dustin Turner, while truly was an accessory, after the fact of the crime, has been made a Scapegoat for Brown’s admitted murdering of Jennifer Evans and has been unjustly incarcerated beyond a justified time; especially, after Brown admitted, that Dustin had nothing to do with the murder, just the accessory actions after the fact.
While a ton of evidence, reports and procedures surround this case both naval and civil, my opinion is that Dustin Turner’s involvement was due to youth and poor judgment caused by shock, alcohol and undeserved loyalty to an assigned SEAL trainee partner “swim buddy”.
By placing myself in Dustin’s shoes, I see a young couple wanting to have fun at the beach, drinking and romantically interested in each other. Unable to find a suitable ride home for Brown and wanting some privacy, they leave the bar and go to Dustin’s car. After a short while, Brown drunkenly realizes he is alone with no friends around, stumbles into the parking lot and locates Dustin and Jennifer listening to music in a car. Dustin advises Jennifer to pay no attention to him as apparently, she had tired of his presence and attitude inside the bar and was another reason she and Dustin had left him in first place. Brown gets into the back seat and starts an argument with Jennifer and gets enraged. Brown most likely was intimidated by Jennifer’s superior mind and social direction heading into medical school and reacted with his usual and now known physical solution. Brown reaches over the back seat and puts a powerful strangle hold around Jennifer’s neck instantly killing her; not by design, but by drunkenness and socially unable to control himself.
Brown realizes what he has done, goes into instant survival mode and starts yelling out orders. Dustin (in my opinion), witnessing a personal romance turned murder in an instant and braced by fear goes into shock and reacts as directed. “Personal opinion”: If I was intimidated by a person who just murdered someone in my presence, I could understand going along for personal survival until I could safely extract myself from the intimidating personality, ensuring my safety and life. This is where Dustin failed, after reaching safety, he did not report the crime, however, I understand he was almost immediately injured in a live firing exercise at a firing range adding now physical shock to psychological shock.
Most of the above is not recorded anywhere but in my investigation report submitted to the JAG office at my command. I had no other involvement in this case, and my opinions were not shared with the civil authorities, as it was a naval investigation.
I hope this helps those investigating Dustin’s case see Dustin in another light, realizing he has been the victim of legal maneuvering and has served well beyond what one would expect for his involvement in a “wrong place at the wrong time and in wrong company” crime. This is not intended to reduce the pain and loss of Jennifer Evans’ life! Our society lost a pillar member with her death and I also can understand her parent’s feelings of blocking Dustin’s previous pardon attempt. I hope with Brown admitting to the crime that full and normal justice as seen from God’s eye and not failed civil legal procedural processes are issued; freeing Dustin (a model prisoner) to continue the positive life he has been able to sustain under the worst conditions, but as a free man.
Please feel free to contact me, if further conversation would help with your decision. I can drive to Richmond if required.
Respectfully, John Floyd
Carrington Pasco Brown
I hope you'll take the time to learn the story of Dustin Turner, the Navy SEAL trainee. You will then understand why it keeps me awake at night struggling with our justice system and trying to make sense of why a fine and innocent young man is losing his youth in our prison system while other, much worse offenders go free. I am not sure how much you know of his case. Secretary Moran and Stoney can fill you in - I think they have both seen the meticulously researched documentary, Target of Opportunity which outlines the case. It is available on iTunes. No one who has seen the film has refused to support Dustin's search for justice. After the films release on iTunes, Dusty’s web site and Face Book page has received hundreds of new views and support.
I know my friend Shannon Valentine, Whit Clement, Speaker Howell and other delegates know about this case and support his clemency. We have met with many of them. Speaker Howell has promised not to call you soft on crime if you grant Dusty his clemency!
I just hope you will finally be the Governor to see beyond politics and do the right thing. Dustin is only guilty of being an accessory after the fact-a misdemeanor. The jury foreman even wrote the Governor Warner a letter stating they never wanted this for Dustin.They were confused with their instruction.
He has been in prison for over 20 years. The Virginia prison system is broken and men like Dusty Turner don't need taxpayer money to keep them locked up. I am from a family of lawyers and have had Hunton Williams and McQuire Woods attorneys weigh in on the terrible representation Dusty received in his trial. They all feel he has served far too much time enough for a misdemeanor. Bill Broaddus said, “I have read ...the opinion of the Supreme Court in Dustin’s case. I agree, apparently with others, that a jury would not convict Dustin of felony murder and it seems highly unlikely that they would convict him of abduction. The problem I have with the Supreme Court’s conclusion is that it appears to ignore the fact that the murder was a separate, independent act by a third party. Therefore, even assuming there was an initial abduction, The “initial felony and the homicide were [not] parts of one continuous transaction.” I have to be discouraging but most politicians are very reluctant to grant pardons or clemency in situations of this nature.”
As Gordon Rainey, Thurston Moore and Richard Cullen tell me it's all about politics, and Dusty’s clemency will depend on politics. How sad for our state that politics could trump justice.
Dusty has not wasted the past 20 years but has started a recycling program, a dog training program, written a Restorative Justice manual and mentors other prisoners among other projects and study. It only takes a visit to respect his ramrod straight posture, his humble yet positive attitude and his ability to survive in a tough situation.
His attorney David Hargett has been working pro bono for years, as he feels so strongly about Dustin's innocence. This case is perfect for clemency, as the courts can make mistakes just like people. It is morally and ethically wrong for the state to keep this fine man in prison. David Hargett has filed the clemency and I understand it is near the top of a pile. Before you make a decision, I ask that you watch the documentary film by Doug Leete and maybe even pay Dusty a visit. Anyone who meets him understands why this man should be returned to Indiana where he has a house, a job, loving friends and a family waiting for him. I hope you can make this happen.
Carrington Pasco Brown