Murder Trial Begins In Case Of Slain Texarkana Woman

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NEW BOSTON, Texas–A jury of six men and six women began hearing testimony Tuesday afternoon in the case of a man accused of murder in the alleged strangulation killing of his girlfriend.

Travis Alston Turner, 29, is accused of strangling Jennifer Rose Garrett, 29, to death on Aug. 12, 2021, in a residence in the 6200 block of Summerhill Place in Texarkana, Texas. Friends of Garrett’s went to her home when she failed to come to work, according to probable cause documents.

Turner allegedly cracked open the door when Garrett’s friends knocked and claimed she had not come home the night before. Garrett’s friends waited until Turner left to pick up lunch and made entry into the residence. Garrett’s body was on the living room couch, about five feet from the front door. Turner returned to the residence while police were on scene and was arrested.

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If found guilty, Turner’s trial will enter a second phase during which jurors will hear evidence concerning the punishment he should receive in the range of five to 99 years or life in prison.

That testimony could relate to arrests involving the shooting of a man in Arkansas and Turner’s alleged assault of his own mother in Bowie County.

Turner is facing felony terroristic act and battery charges in Miller County, Arkansas, in connection with a Feb. 26, 2021, shooting that sent one man to the hospital while another managed to escape unharmed. Seven spent shell casings were recovered from that scene, according to a motion filed by First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp.

While free on bond on the Arkansas charges, Turner allegedly assaulted his mother and threatened to kill and strangle her, resulting in a misdemeanor family violence charge in Bowie County which remains pending.

“Sixteen days after the defendant made bond on the assault family violence charge, he murdered Jennifer Rose Garrett,” a motion from the state alleges.

Turner’s conduct since his arrest on the day of Garrett’s murder has also been an issue. Turner has allegedly fought with jail staff on a routine basis, particularly when being moved from his cell, records state. A bid by Turner to represent himself at trial was denied recently by 202nd District Judge John Tidwell for security reasons.

Testimony in the case began Tuesday afternoon following jury selection at the Bowie County courthouse in New Boston before Judge Tidwell. The case is expected to last through the week.

Crisp and Assistant D.A. Lauren Richards are representing the state. Turner is represented by Bart Craytor of the Bowie County Public Defender’s Office.

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