The family of a Union woman who died last year in Mexico is in shock by the verdict presented Tuesday.
A tribunal in Quintana Roo, Mexico, acquitted St. Clair attorney and businessman John Loveless in the death of Tamra Turpin, 36, Union.
“I’m still shocked at the outcome,” said Turpin’s sister, Jodi Mills. “The judge said he couldn’t say that he’s innocent, but there wasn’t 100 percent evidence to convict him.”
The court rendered the verdict Tuesday, March 14, at 3 p.m. Turpin died March 2, 2016, while she vacationed at a condo in Mexico with Loveless.
Loveless, 60, has been held since March 2016, in a jail in Quintana Roo, awaiting the trial on the murder charge.
Mills said the acquittal does not provide the family with closure.
According to a statement released by the family, the tribunal stated, “based on the evidence presented to us, we cannot say with 100 percent reasoning that John Loveless committed the murder of Tamra Turpin by asphyxiation by strangulation with his hands.
“The Mexican tribunal goes on to detail the faults with their own Mexican chief medical examiner’s findings and reports, faults with their prosecution and their representation of their medical examiner’s findings and criminology finding as the reason they (the tribunal) do not have 100 percent clarity in this case.”
According to Mills, the tribunal statement continues, “we are not saying John Loveless is innocent in the death of Tamra Turpin, however, by our laws and evidence presented to us we cannot say with 100 percent certainty he strangled her.”
Members of the Loveless family did not respond to requests for comments.
Mills, her mother, Evalena Duncan, sister, Amy Turpin Perilman, and stepfather traveled to Mexico to hear the court proceedings.
Mills said statements in court from a chief medical examiner indicated that the autopsy he conducted showed Turpin’s wounds were consistent with someone trying to defend themself, and that seven to eight hours had elapsed before her death was reported.
According to Mills, the court threw out the testimony of the medical examiner.
The same autopsy showed Turpin had suffocated. It indicated that she had injuries to her chest, neck, arms, elbows and knees, according to court records.
A second autopsy, requested by Loveless, stated that there was no fracture of Turpin’s windpipe and that there was insufficient evidence to show the cause of death because organs, including the liver and kidneys, were not dissected.
According to Mills, Loveless said he took Turpin to the hospital March 1, 2016, where she was restrained overnight because she was having seizures.
The next day, Mills said, Loveless called her and told her Turpin was “out of her head” and that he had called an ambulance. He canceled the ambulance 45 minutes later and said Turpin was “fine” and resting, she added.
Mills told The Missourian that during the trial the doctor at the hospital said Turpin did not have seizures, but she had stayed overnight in the hospital where she had been restrained.
The doctor told the court that Turpin was confused when she arrived at the hospital. The private hospital required up-front payment, and Loveless attempted to use Turpin’s credit card to pay for her admission.
However, hospital staff did not allow Loveless to use Turpin’s card, and he then paid for the services himself.
The doctor also told the court that Turpin was signed out by Loveless the following day against medical advice.
Mills noted that the manager of the condo that Loveless and Turpin were staying at testified on behalf of Loveless, stating that he did not see any marks on Turpin’s body during the stay.
Turpin’s family was aided by a Mexican attorney, who translated for them during the trial. There also were translators in court for the defense and the prosecution.