COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Two Columbus sisters, Ceonna Turpin and Eurica Turpin, plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter and two counts of aggravated assault. The two face their new reality of what could be over a decade in prison.
Trial was set to start Tuesday morning for two Columbus sisters charged in the March 2022 murder of 17-year-old Markayla Marshall. The trial was over before it even started.
Defendants Ceonna and Eurica Turpin were on trial for malice and felony murder.
Just before 12 p.m. Tuesday, both defendants accepted a plea deal from the state, entering a guilty plea for a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter and two counts of aggravated assault of Marshall and two counts of aggravated assault for the two other females that were shot in the park that afternoon.
Under Georgia law, voluntary manslaughter is when someone causes the death of another human being which would otherwise be murder. This is an act of sudden, violent, and irresistible passion.
Officials say in March of 2022, the Turpin sisters arrived at Primus King Park in South Columbus to fight Markayla Marshall. The state says with the intent of shooting her.
That boy was Reginald Fletcher. Jail text messages show the shooter, Ceonna, messaged Fletcher the day of the murder. Kelly told the judge how it went down.
The shooter, Ceonna was sentenced to 30 years with 25 years to serve and her sister, Eurica Turpin who encouraged her to shoot was sentenced to 20 years with 15 years to serve.
Both sisters were first time offenders. The defense asked that their records be wiped clean after serving their time.
“In a case involving the death of another person, then, to wipe that off after any period of time, wipe that off someone’s record would not be appropriate. The families will deal with this for the rest of their lives, and the defendant should also.”
– Don Kelly, Chief Assistant District Attorney
Judge Peters denied, the Georgia First Offender Act as it devalues taking a human life.
“That’s five lives affected by a split second decision out of revenge, I guess. Anger. These days, it just devalues human life completely. It’s just like there is nothing to it. Start shooting don’t worry about it.”
– Judge Bobby Peters
Judge Peters told the Turpin sisters this was irrational stupid thinking all over a boy.
Although the sentencing will not bring Markayla Marshall back, the family has some sense of closure.
“It was heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking, I ain’t going to say justice, but I’ll say half justice, because it’s not what we were expecting … It was justice, but in the end it’s not. I mean, there family is going to always see them again, and we cant see her again or talk to her, she’s gone.”
– Markayla Marshalls Family on feelings after the Turpin sisters were sentenced
The Turpin sisters were emotional as they faced their new reality, of what could be over a decade in prison.
When asked by Judge Peters if they have anything to say for themselves, Ceonna and Eurica Turpin apologized to the court and Marshalls family, asking for their forgiveness.