Part 18 in a Series
There are often, quite unfortunately, consequences of not prosecuting a murder case as soon as evidence is collected to make an arrest and pursue justice. Sometimes this leads to another heinous crime. It has recently been brought to my attention that unconscionable failures of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Clark County District Attorney’s Office under David Roger, and the Clark County Coroner’s Office under Michael Murphy to act in relation to the murder of Jason R. Turner-Shenker in 2005, and that the collective failure of these public organizations resulted in the death of a toddler on June 15, 2011.
This story begins in the summer of 2009. Cynthia Turner was seeking justice for the murder of her only child, Jason, who had been murdered in his home a month after his 25th birthday. For nearly four years she had been stonewalled and lied to about an investigation. Then on June 19, 2009, she obtained forensic toxicology results from a prominent local expert often utilized by the district attorney’s office in Clark County. Her first instinct was to share the toxicology report with all pertinent authorities in hopes that its conclusion would make a difference in the case. After all, she had it in writing that only one conclusion could be reached based on that forensic evidence: Jason Turner had been murdered with an extremely high dosage of liquid morphine.
The same report also concluded that only one person could have committed the murder, other than the victim’s mother. But the latter supposition was absurd, leaving only the prime suspect and little room for error or unusual circumstances. Yet, the LVMPD and the district attorney’s office seemed to expect that only the least probable
circumstances applied to this case, and that the obvious suspect was not worth pursuing. At least that is what they indicated on the surface, as if the authorities never get it wrong, and never lie.
After leaving a large notebook of paper evidence that Turner hoped would make a difference to authorities with the LVMPD and the Clark County District Attorney David Roger, she attempted to confirm with Roger that he would consider that compendium of information. As reported earlier, Roger screamed into the phone that he would not be pursuing justice in this “high profile” case because he could not afford to lose it, politically.
Going back to August 12, 2010, Turner had met with Detective Matt Gillis of the LVMPD about her son’s murder case. She provided him with forensic evidence and recorded a conversation with the detective, hoping that he would follow through on his promises. Seven months later to the day, detective Jon Scott told Turner that a polygraph test had been scheduled with the prime suspect. But that was not to take place for an inexcusable reason. Nothing was being done, and lies were in the air regarding witness interviews taking place, or not, and
what was being said, or not. A water wheel is more useful than a dozen detectives and prosecutors; at least it produces something rather than merely spinning in circles.
On May 23, 2011 Turner filed a complaint with the public integrity office regarding handling of the case and persons involved. At the same time, a relative of the prime suspect was living with a young woman who had a two-year-old boy, whom he abused regularly. Michael Alan Lee had been released from prison the previous December, in 2010.
In February 2011 he met an acquaintance of his sister, and began dating her. After several months he moved into her apartment in the Seven Hills area of Henderson.
When evidence began to mount that the young boy was being abused, the prime suspect made excuses to protect her relative. As the story goes, she intervened with explanations to excuse the toddler’s fear of Michael Lee. Rather than show concern that something might be seriously and gravely wrong with her sibling, she protected him at the expense of everyone else, especially the suffering boy. Then, three days shy of the two years after Turner obtained exceedingly compelling evidence that a member of the Lee family had murdered her son, this
innocent toddler was beaten to death by Michael Alan Lee.
This “conversation” between Cynthia Turner and David Roger occurred approximately a year before this young boy, Brodie, was murdered.
David Roger had been more concerned about losing a “high-profile case” and his reelection to continue as Clark County district attorney than he was about obtaining justice. He won his coveted election.
About two weeks shy of a year after that 2010 election, on October 25, 2011, Henderson police arrested Michael Lee for the murder of that boy who died two years, six months and sixteen days after his birth. For a longer period than Brodie was allowed to live, by more than two of Brodie’s lifetimes, LVMPD officers and detectives and their
compatriots within the district attorney’s office had done everything possible to avoid pursuing justice in the murder of Jason Turner. Had they stepped up to the commitment of their oaths of office, they would have prevented that toddler’s brutal murder. Brodie’s mother would not have had a relationship with Michael Lee, had that young woman known what had taken place in 2005 by the hands of Michael’s relatives. If Michael’s relative had been prosecuted for her crime, it’s probable that Brodie would still be alive.
Had justice been pursued, all that rhetoric we’ve heard during this past election cycle would have meaning. Both candidates for sheriff have sworn oaths to protect citizens and residents of Clark County.
Candidates for judgeships and every public office all have said the same thing, especially district attorney Steven Wolfson: I am here to serve you and this community, for your protection and safety. Sheriff Gillespie had made the same promise during his election campaigns.
Police officers offer their oaths as a lien on their property when sworn into office, or taking on ranks and privileges of their positions. The lives of many of us depend upon those oaths having substance rather than being the mere empty pronouncements of liars.
Within six weeks of the arrest of Michael Lee in October 2011, David Roger announced his resignation as Clark County District Attorney.
This announcement was a surprise to many. His reason was hardly credible on the surface: that he wanted to spend more time with his family. Now, given the information that we have recently gained, it might actually make sense. Brodie died unnecessarily as a consequence of the arrogance of power and individual desires to be “important” in this community. Roger had been infected with that social disease. Perhaps learning of Brodie’s death made a difference, as it should for all who have failed to pursue justice when given that opportunity and responsibility.
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Thomas A. Nagy is the author of Cannabis Consumer Handbook available at Amazon.com, and the blog ReGeneration at blogspot.com. Email direct at: firstname.lastname@example.org.