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Grand Rapids man gets 5 years in prison for hitting and killing 13-year-old best friends

It took two years for prosecutors to charge Jerry Turnbow Jr. with hitting and killing the girls the night of August 26, 2017.
Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 6:17 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (11/19/2020) - A judge is sending a Grand Rapids man to prison three years after he hit and killed two 13-year-old girls crossing the street in Flint.

It took two years for prosecutors to charge Jerry Turnbow Jr. with hitting and killing the girls the night of August 26, 2017.

Thursday, a judge sentenced him to 5 years in prison, with credit for one year of time served.

ABC12 has been following this case since the crash happened.

No witness testimony could prove Turnbow Jr. was driving drunk at the time of the crash. So those charges were dropped as he was bound over to Circuit Court.

In October, he pleaded no contest to the 6 other felony charges against him.

The families of Ashyrinta Clemons and Tatiana Brown shared their heartache during Thursday’s sentencing hearing.

Ashyrinta’s Dad addressed him, “Turnbow, you took my daughter away from me. I’m missing a piece of my heart.”

Tatiana’s Mom added, “I hurt every day knowing I can’t see her face or touch her or kiss her or nothing. She didn’t even get a chance to have a life.”

It’s been more than three years since the two best friends were killed. They were just 13 years old.

On the night of August 26, 2017, they were crossing Saginaw Street while leaving a teen party, when they were struck by a car and killed.

The driver, Turnbow Jr., took off.

“What kind of monster, what kind of person does that? A person that has no regards for human life or human decency. Your actions that night, leading up to the accident and even after the accident shows you are a monster,” Ashyrinta’s Great Aunt Annina Banks said.

The night of the crash, the girls’ families actually found the suspect’s car. But, it would take two more years until Turnbow would be held accountable.

The initial investigator ended up getting into his own criminal trouble; and then, the Prosecutor explained the case fell on the backburner for the Flint Police Department.

Turnbow was caught and charged one year ago.

“Even though you will be in prison, we will have a lifetime of hurt and pain and grief. And you, you can go to prison but you can get out and still hug your children. What do these parents have? What do we have?” Banks said.

Turnbow spoke briefly at the hearing. He apologized to the girls’ families.

But Banks said this is not a welcome ending to the case for them. Because she said they don’t believe 5 years isn’t enough for killing two people.

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