Rocky relationship at heart of Fresno murder trial

FRESNO — The prosecution and defense teams had very different stories to tell during the opening day of a murder trial in which a Fresno woman is being accused of killing her boyfriend by running him over in a car.

Seneca Turner, 29, accused of killing her boyfriend by running him over in a car.

Seneca Turner, 29, became emotional as her lawyer, Michael Mitchell, gave his opening statement in Fresno Superior Court on Thursday. Mitchell told the jury that Turner never meant to kill her boyfriend, 48-year-old Sendy Thomas, and they should “set her free.”

The incident occurred Jan. 9, 2010 at Mariposa and A streets. Mitchell contended that Thomas was drunk and high on cocaine, and he jumped in front of Turner’s car and tried to attack her.

Mitchell said that the relationship had been a stormy one, and Turner was scared of her boyfriend. He said that people familiar with Thomas would testify that he used “intimidation and violence” to get his way.

While the prosecution agreed that the relationship was a rocky one, they didn’t agree with the defense’s account of what happened on the morning of Thomas’ death. Prosecutor Thomas Frye said that Turner was drunk and had marijuana and cocaine in her system when she intentionally ran Thomas over with her car.

Frye said that Thomas was either sitting on the curb or trying to get away when the 2000 Buick LeSabre struck him. Frye said that a few hours before Thomas was killed, a neighbor heard Turner say, “I’m going to kill you” to Thomas during an argument.

The trial is expected to last several weeks.


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