‘I Just Killed a Guy’: Texas Man Admits He Chased Down Moroccan Driver Before Killing Him, Affidavit Says

·6 min read
Courtesy Caldwell County Sheriff's Office
Courtesy Caldwell County Sheriff's Office

On Friday morning, Terry Turner, a 65-year-old man who police say shot and killed 31-year-old Adil Dghoughi on Oct. 11 in Martindale, Texas, was arrested and charged with murder.

According to the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, a warrant for Turner’s arrest was issued on Thursday for the murder of Dghoughi. On Friday morning, Turner turned himself in. Fred Weber, the Caldwell County District Attorney, told The Daily Beast that Turner was charged with murder but it will be up to a grand jury to decide whether to indict him.

It is unclear who Turner’s attorney is. They could not immediately be reached for comment for this story. Turner himself did not respond to a request for comment.

As The Daily Beast previously reported, Turner shot Dghoughi, a Muslim Moroccan who had been in the U.S. for just over a decade, after confronting his allegedly “suspicious” car parked outside his driveway on Oct. 11, according to the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office.

A probable cause affidavit obtained by The Daily Beast on Friday says that when deputies arrived at Turner’s house at 4 a.m. on Oct. 11, they found Dghoughi with a gunshot wound to the head and his car parked at the end of the driveway.

According to the affidavit, Turner told deputies he had gotten up to use the bathroom and while crossing the living room and foyer of his home, he opened his front door and discovered Dghoughi's car with the headlights off parked in the driveway. Turner told deputies he ran back to his bedroom, got his handgun and ran back outside, at which point he said Dghoughi’s headlights turned on.

Turner told deputies the car started to rapidly go in reverse and he chased after it, the affidavit says. At the end of the driveway, while next to the driver’s side window, Turner said he hit the window twice with his gun and then shot through it. He then went back into his house and called 911.

“I just killed a guy,” Turner told a dispatcher, according to the affidavit. While the dispatcher was gathering information, Turner allegedly added that Dghoughi “started racing away and I ran after him.”

“He pointed a gun at me and I shot,” Turner said, according to the affidavit.

Despite Turner’s claims, the probable cause affidavit states no guns were found inside of Dghoughi’s car.

Sarah Todd, Dghoughi’s girlfriend, told The Daily Beast she was horrified to read the affidavit. “Had you not chased him down, none of this would have happened,” she said. “Adil was running for his life and he was afraid. My poor baby was so afraid.”

Todd said the affidavit confirmed what loved ones have insisted since Dghoughi’s death: that he never stepped outside of his car or confronted Turner during the quick interaction. She also shot down any suggestion that Dghoughi had a gun, saying the claim was an attempt by Turner to “cover his fucking ass.”

More details about the shooting were not immediately available as an incident report provided to The Daily Beast redacted any narrative related to the shooting.

Before Turner’s arrest, Dghoughi’s loved ones, including Todd, expressed outrage that more than a week after the shooting, Turner had yet to be arrested. They also expressed concern that robust “Stand-Your-Ground”-style laws in Texas might be invoked, blocking their pleas for justice.

White Texas Property Owner Avoids Arrest After Killing Moroccan Driver

Early Friday morning, before she had a chance to read the affidavit, Todd told The Daily Beast that Turner’s arrest gave her more comfort. She said she was happy to see the sheriff’s office “going through the process the way that they should.” She previously told The Daily Beast that investigators in the sheriff’s office told her shortly after the shooting that it seemed to be a case of self-defense—despite what she suggested was a lack of evidence pointing to that.

Todd’s feelings changed by Friday evening when she learned more details about the shooting and that Turner had bonded out of jail less than two hours after he turned himself in. According to county jail records, Turner checked himself into jail just before 10 a.m. and was bonded out before noon. Details about the amount of his bail were not immediately available.

“It’s crazy that they are going to let this guy out on bail and he chased someone down and murdered them in the street. How in the hell is he out on bail? He is a threat to the entire community,” Todd said.

In a press release announcing Turner's arrest, the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office said detectives had worked “tirelessly” on the case and conducted multiple interviews and executed multiple search warrants during the investigation.

The sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Turner’s bond.

Since Dghoughi’s shooting, over $27,000 has been raised to help his family hire an attorney and private investigator. Groups like the Austin chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations have taken up the family’s calls and advocated for an independent investigation into the shooting.

Todd said that while she feels hopeful about Turner’s arrest, she was also wary that the officials might be charging Turner because of the “pressure” that has been put on them. She said she still fears the charge could be a way to “silence” those who have spoken out about Dghoughi’s shooting.

“You know, give us a little something to make us feel better,” she said.

Weber, the Caldwell County district attorney, declined to comment in detail when reached by The Daily Beast. The prosecutor did say he would attempt to meet with Dghoughi’s family this weekend. He also said he would like to reserve any statements until he has had a chance to review the case more closely.

Todd said Dghoughi’s family and his loved ones intend to continue to put pressure on officials in the county. “We’re not gonna stop,” she said. “We’re going to continue putting pressure on them until he is convicted of murder.”

Mehdi Cherkaoui, an attorney for the Dghoughi family, told The Daily Beast that the arrest on Friday should have happened 11 days ago, when the shooting took place.

“The arrest should have been made on the scene,” Cherkaoui told The Daily Beast. “There was enough there.”

While Cherkaoui said he was pleased that the law enforcement had acted, he also said he suspected the case may face obstacles.

“This case, like many before it, is going to test the limits of Stand Your Ground,” he said. “At the end of the day, we’re going to have to find out whether Stand Your Ground could be stretched so far as to allow someone to take someone’s life that has posed absolutely no threat to them.”

A rally and a vigil will be held at the Capitol in Austin for Dghoughi on Saturday, Todd said. There will be another one on Sunday in Martindale, the Texas town in which Dghoughi was shot.

An autopsy report for Dghoughi was not yet completed, Hays County Justice of the Peace Beth Smith told The Daily Beast earlier this week. However, she did say that a preliminary report listed his death as a homicide.

The cause of death was a gunshot wound to his head and left hand.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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