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A former Florida cosplay model who is on trial for second-degree murder for the killing of her fiancé took the stand this week in an attempt to convince a jury that she stabbed him in the back out of self-defense.
“I thought he was going to kill me,” Melissa Turner, 29, told jurors during her time on the stand, which spanned from Thursday to Friday, Law&Crime reports.
Through tears, Turner attempted to convey to jurors that she killed her 25-year-old live-in boyfriend Matthew Trussler in self-defense after he woke her up abruptly after drinking in 2019. Turner told the jury that Trussler then choked her and threw her across a counter before he picked up a knife. She told jurors that she grabbed up the knife after Trussler set it down to further choke her. That is when, she said, she stabbed him in the back.
After the stabbing, Turner allegedly waited for four hours before calling 911 and when she did, she told the dispatcher that she had discovered Trussler’s cold and bloody body on their back patio, the Tampa Bay Times reported in 2019.
Days before her trial began, Turner told WFLA that she killed Trussler because she feared for her life at the time.
The trial to determine Turner’s fate began this week with opening statements on Monday, WFLA reported. Prosecutors started their case on Tuesday by showing jurors video footage from a neighbor’s surveillance camera that apparently captured audio of a woman stating “you stay down,” “so f–ing die” and “I hate you,” around the time of the incident, WFLA reports.
Turner’s lawyer John Trevena said he plans to prove to jurors that there is no proof that the audio they heard actually came from the Hillsborough County house that Turner shared with Trussler.
If convicted, Turner could face life in prison.; she turned down a plea deal for a 25-year sentence last week after her lawyer unsuccessfully countered prosecutors’ deal with a five-year sentence proposal.
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