A Texas man was finally arrested and charged with murder Friday after walking free for more than a week after killing a person of color. Eleven days after shooting and killing Adil Dghoughi, an unarmed Moroccan citizen living in the country,in an unprovoked attack on Oct. 11, 65-year-old Terry Turner was arrested Friday. The arrest follows an uproar on social media and growing questions on what happened to Dghoughi, whose murderer was not arrested or investigated prior.
According to the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, a warrant for Turner’s arrest was issued on Thursday and by Friday morning, he turned himself in. While Turner was charged with murder, it will be up to a grand jury to decide whether to indict him. Court records indicate that while arrested Friday, Turner was released from custody after posting bond the day of his arrest, The Washington Post reported.
Before Turner was taken into custody, few to no details on the incident were released. Advocates and family members demanded answers about why local authorities decided against arrest charges, and they begged to know what happened that night.
According to family members, Dghoughi had spent the weekend before his death with his girlfriend, Sarah Todd. After Dghoughi left Todd’s place, he ended up in the driveway of Turner’s home. While it’s unclear what led him there, Todd and his family members believe he may have been lost and trying to get signal, a difficult task in some parts of Texas. The affidavit notes that when Turner saw the car he ran for his handgun, attempted to chase the car as it reversed into the street, and opened fire.
Turner had called 911 the night of the incident, but not before he had already shot Dghoughi in the head. “I just killed a guy,” Turner told the 911 operator, according to the affidavit. Despite a search revealing Dghoughi had no firearm, Turner even claimed Dghoughi “tried to pull a gun on me.”
“At end of the day, I don’t think this is about anything else other than a human being losing his life outside of a home of someone who decided they’re not going to call law enforcement, not going to call 911, and instead going to take matter into their own hands,” said Mehdi Cherkaoui, an attorney representing Dghoughi’s family.
Despite the evidence and calls to 911 in which Turner admitted killing Dghoughi, local authorities—which are suspected to be friends of Turner’s—did little to nothing.
“He was not of any threat to this person,” Todd told The Washington Post. “And whatever is twisted in this man’s mind, for some reason he thought that he could do this. And it’s not okay. It’s just not okay.”
“The more I learned about what transpired, the more I was shocked and even angered,” said Faizan Syed, executive director of CAIR-Austin. “Here’s this young man who’s bright, is a financial analyst, and is really pursuing the American Dream. For him to be shot and killed in this manner — almost as if he’s nothing — really hurt me, and we wanted to make sure we took action to raise awareness.”
While advocates and others welcomed Turner’s arrest, they noted the length it took for it to occur and the state’s problematic “no duty retreat” law, which they feared would impact the case. “Why did it take them 10-days to make the arrest?” Dghoughi’s brother, Othmane Dghoughi, asked KXAN.
Texas’ “no duty retreat” law, commonly known as the “stand your ground law,” allows individuals to use deadly force when they “reasonably believe” they need to defend themselves. According to Chapter 9 of the Texas Penal Code, an individual has the right to self-defense “to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect the actor against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force.” Reports indicate that it disproportionately impacts people of color and encourages “illegitimate uses of deadly force” in situations that could have otherwise been prevented.
Cherkaoui told CNN he could think of “1,001 things” Turner could have done differently to avoid the fatal shooting and believes that a claim of self-defense doesn’t apply in this case.
“I pray that when a grand jury hears this case, they will agree,” he said.
Family members and friends shared similar sentiments, noting that they knew this arrest was “just only the beginning.”
“We’re going to continue to fight until there is justice for Adil,” Todd said.