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Testimony begins in murder trial

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Posted: Tuesday, February 1, 2011 12:00 pm

By Philip Jankowski

Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON - The murder trial of Kris Michael Lewis Turnbull began Monday with the emotional testimony of a man intimately connected to both Turnbull and the victim Timothy Manning.

Michael Ferrell became friends with Manning while they were both students at Killeen High School.

Ferrell also became a close family friend to Turnbull, 20. He dated Turnbull's mother on and off since first meeting the family more than 15 years ago. His brother was married to Turnbull's mother for a time, and Ferrell said he acted as an uncle to Turnbull.

On. Sept. 26, 2009, Ferrell's relationship changed dramatically. Ferrell became the man who fingered Turnbull as the killer of his longtime friend.

Ferrell was the first witness called by Bell County prosecutor Mike Waldman Monday. His testimony will continue today in the 264th District Court. Turnbull is accused of shooting Manning in the back of the head and robbing the Express Cab.

Ferrell and his wife overslept the morning of the slaying. Both were employees of Express Cab near Nolanville, which became the scene of the shooting. Turnbull also was employed intermittently at Express Cab in 2008 and 2009 doing odd jobs and as a mechanic.

Ferrell told the court he called the business to let Manning know his wife would be late. Manning asked Ferrell to bring him a cup of coffee.

While choking back tears, Ferrell described how he found Manning when they arrived at Express Cab that morning.

"I walked in with the coffee," Ferrell said, pausing to wipe some tears. "I saw Tim laying face down in some blood."

After calling 911, he attempted to resuscitate Manning, who had been shot in the back of the head. Ferrell identified Manning in grisly photos of the scene depicting Manning, whose body Ferrell had to roll over in order to attempt CPR.

When deputies from the Bell County Sheriff's Office arrived, Ferrell, a cab driver for Express Cab, led investigators to a recently installed video surveillance system.

Later, Ferrell was asked to view the video. He identified the shooter as Turnbull.

"I'm more than 100 percent sure (the shooter was Turnbull)," Ferrell testified.

After naming Turnbull as the shooter, Ferrell asked Turnbull to meet him at a motel in Killeen. Deputies arrested Turnbull there.

Ferrell's testimony marked the opening of the case. The prosecution outlined in opening statements to the jury of five women and seven men how it had an abundance of proof connecting Turnbull to the murder, most notably the video.

Waldman told the court Turnbull had stolen multiple weapons from the father of an ex-girlfriend.

Among those was the murder weapon.

Ferrell testified Turnbull had offered to sell him one of the stolen weapons. During that conversation, Turnbull told Ferrell how he wished to rob someone.

Ferrell's defense did not make an opening statement.

Contact Philip Jankowski at

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

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