Mexican court officials have heard five days of testimony in the murder trial against John Loveless, St. Clair, who is accused of killing his girlfriend.
The Loveless trial began Monday, March 6, in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Prosecutors allege that Loveless murdered Tamra Turpin, 36, of Union, on March 2, 2016, while they vacationed at a condo in Mexico.
An attorney for Loveless has presented testimony in an effort to show his innocence. He has been held since March 2016 in a jail in Quintana Roo, awaiting the trial.
Turpin’s oldest sister, Jodi 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 themselves, 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 autopsy showed Turpin had suffocated. It indicated that she had injuries to her chest, neck, arms, elbows and knees, according to court records.
Mills, her mother, Evalena Duncan, sister, Amy Turpin Perilman, and stepfather traveled to Mexico to hear the court proceedings.
Duncan testified on Tuesday, however, her testimony was thrown out of court.
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.
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 is aided by a Mexican attorney, who has translated for them during the trial. There also are translators in court for the defense and the prosecution.
The trial is slated to end March 13, but it could take several days before a verdict is reached, Mills said. The family intends to stay in Mexico until March 16.
Mills said she feels Mexican authorities have done a thorough job during the investigation and trial.
“The prosecutor thinks the case (against Loveless) is strong,” she said. “That reassured me — I was worried about throwing (testimonies) out.”
The 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.
Mills was told that the examiner who conducted that autopsy had contacted court officials and stated he would not testify in court.
The Missourian has made efforts to reach out to the Loveless family, however, they have chosen not to comment on the case.