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Convict Tari Turpin (in green jumpsuit)(Photo by Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

An East Orange man who shot two people on a PATH train at Jersey City’s Newport Station in 2013 was sentenced today to 30 years in prison The Jersey Journal is reporting.
At the hearing, Tari Turpin, 36, showed no remorse and accepted no responsibility for the crime that was captured on video. Instead, the father of three shocked Hudson County Superior Court Judge Joseph Isabella when he blamed his lawyer for his conviction.

“I would like to say I didn’t receive a fair trial at all due to my counsel. I did not,” Turpin said. “I was not carrying a gun that day.”

In response, the Judge all but ridiculed that claim: “I presided over the trial, I’ve been doing this 16 years and the evidence was absolutely overwhelming,” he told Turpin. “Did you see the video? It’s mind-boggling how you can stand there and deny this.

The video shows the whole thing,” Judge Isabella continued. “Your lawyer did an excellent job. Actually, he made only one mistake. There is only one deficiency in his performance. He couldn’t convince you to take the plea… He tried to convince you. I tried to convince you. Based on the video, we saw there was a really good chance a jury would convict you, and they did.”

The state’s offer, which Turpin turned down, would have put him behind bars for 8 1/2 years.

Isabella sentenced Turpin to 20 years in prison for shooting Diamond Drummer in the leg and Aubree Marshall in the hand during the Aug. 25, 2013 incident.

Drummer, whose leg was shattered by a hollow-point bullet, now has a rod and screws in the leg and permanent disability. Another bullet ripped three fingers off Marshall’s dominant hand, leaving him permanently disabled.

Turpin had 20 prior contacts with the justice system, two criminal convictions for receiving stolen property and a handgun conviction for which he served one year in prison in New York. It is due to his prior record that he was eligible to be to be sentenced to an extended prison term on one of the aggravated assault convictions.

Drummer testified that she and friends were returning from New York on Aug. 25, 2013 after a night of drinking. She said when she sat on the floor of the packed train, Turpin began kicking her. She told him to stop but that led to an argument between Drummer and Turpin’s girlfriend, who had a baby in her arms and another in a stroller.

Eventually, Turpin pulled out a gun and Drummer and her friends backed off and decided to get off the train. But as it rolled into the Newport Station, Aubree Marshall, one of Drummer’s friends, took a swing at Turpin, Drummer testified.

Marshall testified that he was upset because Turpin “was arguing with a female and it wasn’t a situation you would take out a gun.” He said Turpin again reached into his pocket for the gun, so Marshall put his left hand over Turpin’s pocket and as they struggled, shots rang out.

The packed train cleared, but Drummer realized Marshall was not with her so she returned to find him struggling with Turpin who had the gun in his hand. Eventually, Turpin ran from the train and fired two rounds at Drummer, striking her in the ankle, she testified.

The Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor  asked Isabella today to sentence Turpin to 48 years. Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez attended the sentencing as did agents of The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The state’s case was bolstered by more than a dozen security videos that captured the incident from various perspectives, including one showing Turpin hiding the gun as he left the station limping from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the leg.

Several Port Authority police officers testified, as did a gun expert and both victims. The ATF was able to track Turpin’s gun form Virginia to New Jersey where it was sold to him.

Turpin was convicted on June 16. He must serve 25 years before becoming eligible for parole. He was convicted of additional charges but those sentences are to be served concurrently.

 

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