Accused serial rapist, sex offender, and poster boy for the injustice of influence – Bowen Turner – has been released from the custody of the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) after less than 16 months of time served. Because of his family ties, Turner received an extremely lenient plea deal – a flagrant example of the kind of Palmetto State justice that routinely turns a blind eye to the lifelong scars and suffering of victims and their families.
Despite facing two criminal sexual conduct charges at the age of sixteen – charges that carried a maximum sentence of thirty years each – Turner’s sentence allowed him to avoid prison and the sex offender registry altogether. Despite being given this golden opportunity, Turner failed to comply with the terms of his probation – on more than fifty occasions.
The deal that let Turner off so easily was raised this month when the person most often blamed for it – second circuit deputy solicitor David Miller – appeared before the S.C. Judicial Merit Selection Commission (SCJMSC) in his bid to become a judge.
Following Turner’s release on November 15, 2023, the 21-year-old has been relegated to home confinement – and so-called “intense supervision” – in Orangeburg County, according to his SCDC inmate record. However, such an arrangement was not enough to keep the repeat offender from re-offending in the past.
In little more than a year, Turner was accused of three sexual assaults against three different young women in three different counties. He was sentenced to five years of probation after the charges were whittled down to one count of first degree assault and battery in Orangeburg County. The S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) failed to bring charges against Turner over another sexual assault that occurred in Calhoun County.
One of the reasons Turner got off easy was that one of his victims – Dallas Stoller – took her own life on November 14, 2021 while charges against him were still pending. Stoller’s suicide has been attributed to the emotional and psychological injuries she suffered after she was sexually assaulted by Turner on October 7, 2018 – and also to the subsequent bullying she endured from many in the Orangeburg community.
Following Stoller’s death, Miller declined to prosecute the case – telling the family a conviction couldn’t be secured without Dallas being alive and able to testify that the encounter between her and Turner wasn’t consensual.
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Records detail how Turner’s incarceration began as the result of parole violations after he was found staggering drunk in the middle of an Orangeburg, S.C. road when he was supposed to be on house arrest. In four months, he violated the conditions of his supervised release more than fifty times without consequence.
Turner was found drunk and wandering just before midnight on May 9, 2022. He was charged with disorderly conduct, purchasing alcohol as a minor, and threatening a public employee after allegedly saying he was going to bite off the finger of a deputy.
While in state custody, Turner finished high school and participated in a violence prevention program.
His release from prison occurred two years and one day after Dallas Stoller committed suicide – a bitter pill for the Stoller family to swallow.
In order for Turner’s weak sentence to prevail, a number of people had to participate – or look the other way. Turner was initially represented by attorney and S.C. Senate minority leader Brad Hutto. His case first appeared before now-retired judge Casey Manning – who has been at the heart of several “Palmetto injustice” scandals. Court records show that several attorneys, judges and solicitors have participated in the failure to prosecute the various cases involving him.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Callie Lyons is a journalist, researcher, and author whose investigative work can be found in media outlets, publications, and documentaries all over the world – most recently in the Parisian newspaper Le Monde and a German documentary for ProSieben. Lyons also appears in Citizen Sleuth – a 2023 documentary exploring the genre of true crime.
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