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Defendant's criminal history can be used as evidence in trial about Secoriea Turner's death, Fulton DA says

On Tuesday, a decision was reversed to allow the prosecution to introduce Jerrion McKinney’s previous gang activity, according to the Fulton County DA's Office.

ATLANTA — The Fulton County District Attorney's Office said it has won an appeal to use a defendant's past criminal history as evidence in the trial over the death of 8-year-old Secoriea Turner.

On Tuesday, a decision was reversed to allow the prosecution to introduce Jerrion McKinney’s previous alleged gang activity, according to the DA's Office. The state's pretrial motion to introduce McKinney's past history was previously denied, in part, by the trial judge. After an appeal, the prosecution and the Georgia Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's ruling, a release stated. 

Jerrion McKinney is one of two alleged Bloods gang members who were indicted in Secoriea's July 4, 2020 shooting death. Secoriea was shot and killed while sitting in the back of her mother's car, as her mom tried to turn onto University Avenue, not far from the Wendy's where Rayshard Brooks was killed by an Atlanta Police officer just weeks earlier. 

McKinney is accused of manning the illegal barricade the night Secoriea was shot and then chasing the car she was riding in after the gunfire. Meanwhile, co-defendant Julian Conley is accused of firing the gun into the car allegedly hitting and killing Secoriea. Conley faces malice murder and felony murder charges in connection to Secoriea’s death. Both McKinney and Conley face aggravated assault and gun/ gang-related charges. 

Back in September 2021, both men previously pleaded not guilty in their court hearing. 

Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office
Left to right: Jerrion McKinney and Julian Conley

A release from the Fulton County DA's Office said McKinney's past history includes a 2015 indictment, where he allegedly took a stolen gun to a school in Hazelwood, Missouri, and pointed it at a classmate's head. 

"Fighting gang violence is a top priority for me, especially in a tragic case of the murder of an innocent child,” Fulton County DA Fani Willis said. “We appealed in this matter to fight for the principle that the jury should hear the evidence of the defendant’s history of gang violence. I am grateful to the National Alliance of Gang Investigators Associations and Georgia Gang Investigators Association for providing their amicus brief and supporting our office as we work to get justice for all crimes associated with Secoriea Turner’s murder.”

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