By Sean P. Ray
Herald Staff Writer
The Titusville Police Department have filed charges against a Crawford County man who is currently facing a separate set of homicide charges.
Jack Elijah Turner, 21, was arraigned Tuesday before Magisterial District Judge Amy Nicols, of Titusville, for three felony offenses. Turner is accused of stealing a vehicle from a Titusville residence the day before he allegedly murdered his stepmother and half-brother.
Titusville Police responded to a report of a stolen vehicle from the 200 block of Brook Street on Aug. 9. The owner of a 2016 Chevrolet Cruze went to leave for work, only to find their vehicle, which was parked in a private driveway on the previous night, was missing.
An investigation was launched, during which the West Mead Township Police Department informed the TPD that the vehicle had been found at a gravel pit on Shartle Road with significant damage. Witnesses reported seeing a male driving the vehicle and later exiting it, leaving it on foot.
Additional evidence led Titusville Police to believe Turner was responsible. He was later positively identified in a photo line-up as the driver of the vehicle and the man who walked away from it. In addition, video surveillance from a separate residence was obtained that identified Turner as being in the 200 block of Brook Street at around 3:46 a.m. the night of the alleged theft.
The victims Turner is accused of murdering, Shannon Whitman, 49, and Darrin Whitman, 10, were killed by a single gunshot wound to the back of the head, according to Crawford County Coroner Scott Schell.Their bodies were discovered by Shannon Whitman’s husband, Scott Whitman, who was returning home from work, according to investigators.
In addition, Turner is accused of stealing a 2009 gray/silver Lincoln MKS Sedan belonging to Shannon Witman after the alleged murder, as well as the theft of a .22 caliber semi-automatic handgun, a .222 caliber long rifle, a Mikromatic Cigarette Machine, Gambler cigarette tubes, Suboxone medication, a small gray safe and a photograph, all of which belonged to Scott Whitman.
A manhunt was launched for Turner’s capture following the murders, though he was treated only as a person of interest and was not charged for the killings until Oct. 7, following a nearly two month long investigation. During this time, he allegedly robbed a gas station clerk at gunpoint Millcreek, from which he has theft charges out of Erie County.
He was taken into custody on Aug. 14 in Charleston, West Virginia by the local police force there and the U.S. Marshall’s Service at a Greyhound bus station. He was extradited back to Pennsylvania on Aug. 28, where he has since remained at the Crawford County Correctional facility.
Turner is facing three felony 3 offenses, consisting of one count of theft by unlawful taking — movable property, one count of receiving stolen property and one count of criminal mischief. Felony 3 charges carry with them a maximum possible sentence of seven years imprisonment and fines of $15,000 each. If convicted of all charges in this incident, Turner faces a combined maximum possible sentence of 21 years imprisonment and fines totaling $45,000.
Bond in Turner’s new charges has been set at $20,000. However, he is currently confined to the Crawford County Correctional Facility without the option of bail for his homicide charges. A preliminary hearing for the theft charges is scheduled for Oct. 29, at 10 a.m., before Judge Nicols.
Turner is scheduled to appear before Judge Nicols on Nov. 1, at 10:30 a.m., for a preliminary hearing on the murder charges. The hearing was originally scheduled for next Monday, at 1:30 p.m.
Ray can be reached, by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.