Liston Turner, 39, was convicted by a Duplin County jury Wednesday of felony breaking and entering, felony larceny, felony possession of stolen goods, resisting a public officer and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The defendant then admitted his status as a habitual, meaning he had previously been convicted of at least three other felonies, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Turner has been convicted numerous times in four separate counties, with the most recent being in Pender County, a conviction in January 2009 for which he is still serving time. He is currently serving a 16 to 20 month sentence for obtaining property by false pretenses.
After reviewing Turner’s record, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge W. Allen Cobb Jr. sentenced him to 160 to 211 months in the North Carolina Department of Corrections. The sentence will run at the expiration of the one he is currently serving.
According to testimony during Turner’s recent trial, during the morning of June 6, 2008, the defendant entered the Duplin County home of Harry and Allison Dempsey. Harry Dempsey had already gone to work and his wife was asleep in the home.
Allison Dempsey awoke when she felt a breeze on her face, only to see a strange shirtless man standing in her bathroom. She told the man to leave and he did, with something tucked under his arm.
She called law enforcement and gave a description of the man. Duplin Sheriff’s Detective Clarke Beringer responded and caught up with a short, stocky, shirtless black man matching the perpetrator’s description about two hours later, a mile from the Dempseys’ home. A foot chase ensued and the man, identified as Turner, was taken into custody.
During a search of the man’s person, including the dark shorts he was wearing, jewelry belonging to Allison Dempsey, as well as money and a smoking device, were seized.
Dempsey, when called to testify during the trial, said she still has difficulty sleeping and feeling safe in her home since the incident. Hudson said he was hopeful that Turner’s sentencing would go a long way toward helping Dempsey and others feel safe, especially in their own homes.
“The jury in this case sent a message that the citizens of Duplin County should be able to feel safe in their homes,” stated District Attorney Dewey Hudson. “This defendant, by his actions in this case and by his previous record, has demonstrated that he is a continued danger to our county and that he needs to be incarcerated for the safety of our community.”
If Turner serves the minimum amount of time for both sentences, that will still put him behind bars for 184 months from the time of his January 2009 conviction in Pender County. That means he will not be released until at least May 2024.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 121, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.