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2009 cab dispatcher slaying trial beginning

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Posted: Monday, January 31, 2011 12:00 pm

By Philip Jankowski

Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON - Jury selection begins today in the capital murder trial of Kris Michael Lewis Turnbull, the 20-year-old man accused of shooting a former co-worker in the back of the head during the robbery of a Nolanville taxi company.

Bell County prosecutors expect the trial to last three days. They are not seeking the death penalty.

Turnbull is accused in the September 2009 slaying of Timothy Manning, a 33-year-old Harker Heights resident who worked at Express Cab near Nolanville as a dispatcher.

Turnbull's defense attorney Stephen Blythe has indicated he will challenge the admissibility of a key piece of evidence: a surveillance videotape police that have said clearly depicts Turnbull walking up behind Manning, pacing a few times and then shooting him in the head.

Blythe attempted to bar the use of the video in a recent pre-trial hearing, and his motion was denied by 264th District Court Judge Martha Trudo. Blythe said at the time he would challenge the video again during the trial.

Turnbull was not employed at Express Cab at the time of the shooting, but he did work there for a period of time as a mechanic, according to prosecutors.

Police believe Turnbull shot Manning in the back of the head with a handgun, stole a box containing cab fares and fled the business in a stolen cab. The cab was later recovered by police, court documents said.

Turnbull was arrested the same day as Manning's death. He has remained in Bell County Jail since.

While awaiting trial, Turnbull fired his first court-appointed counsel. He attempted to fire Blythe during his last court hearing, but changed his mind after Blythe, who served as co-counsel, and Trudo explained how much time they had spent preparing his defense.

Blythe also asked to be removed from the case, citing conflicts created by accusations Turnbull filed with the court. Trudo denied his request.

Contact Philip Jankowski at philipj@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7553. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.

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