On Aug. 10, 2019, Scott Whitman came home to find his wife, Shannon, and their 10-year-old son, Darrin dead from apparent gunshot wounds to the head. Missing from the scene was Shannon’s 2009 silver Lincoln MKS and Scott’s 21-year-old son, Jack Elijah Turner.
Turner quickly became the prime suspect and led police on what would become a multi-state manhunt. Interestingly enough, being a fugitive didn’t hinder Turner’s ability to maintain his social media presence. He continuously refuted the accusations against him with a barrage of nonsensical Facebook posts.
Friends came to Turner’s defense as people found his Facebook and began sounding off in the comments. He continued to deny murdering his step-mother and half-brother and threatened anyone who thought differently. Turner even found time to profess his love to his girlfriend, Stephanie.
Not only did Turner deny the murders, he and his friends tried to pin the blame on Shannon’s ex-husband who was already in jail for murdering her father.
But numerous people who knew Shannon said she was openly afraid of Turner.
The truth about Turner inevitably began to reveal itself. He didn’t live in the Crawford County home with his family and already had a warrant out for his arrest.
In Sept. 2018, Turner threatened to kill a woman in her apartment. He pleaded guilty to making first-degree terroristic threats, a misdemeanor, in May 2019. Even though he pleaded guilty, Turner missed two court dates and a warrant for his arrest was issued.
For that charge alone he was facing a $10,00 fine and up to five years in jail.
Early on Sunday, Aug. 11, one day after the killings, there was a robbery at a Kwik Fill gas station.
“The clerk was dealing with the money and had it out,” Lt. Donald Kucenski, investigative services division commander at Millcreek Police Department said, adding, “at that point (the suspect) went and retrieved his gun from the car and basically said, ‘Give me the money.’”
The suspect made off with under $1,000. The suspect, of course – was Turner.
On Aug. 13, the St. John’s County sheriff’s office in Florida put out the following statement:
HOMICIDE POI SOUGHT:
The United States Marshals Service, along with the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office, are currently seeking the whereabouts of a Person of Interest wanted in connection with a double homicide out of Pennsylvania. The individual is identified as, Jack Elijah Turner W/M 4-28-1998, and resided in St. Augustine, before moving to Pennsylvania.
Turner is currently wanted for theft out of Pennsylvania, but is also a person of interest in an August 10th double homicide investigation, being conducted by the Pennsylvania State Police. Further, Turner is being sought for an August 11th, Armed Robbery to a convenience store in Ohio. The St Johns County Sheriff’s Office and United States Marshals have information confirming that Turner was in St Augustine, following 3 apparent sightings in the past 18 hours. In all of the sightings, he was in the central portion of St. Johns County, in or near the St. Augustine area. Turner is known to have local connections in the area and may still be in St. Johns County.
If you know the whereabouts of Jack Elijah Turner do not confront or attempt to detain him, as he is considered armed and dangerous. Call 911 immediately to contact the nearest local law enforcement agency or the United States Marshals Service at 800-336-0102, should you have any information on Turner.
Then on Aug. 14, they released a secondary statement explaining they believed he was no longer in the area.
That same day, U.S. Marshals caught Turner on a Greyhound bus in Charleston, WV. The bus had departed from Jacksonville, FL around 4 p.m. and was en route to Pennsylvania.
Turner was booked in West Virginia where he would await extradition to Pennsylvania. There he would face charges for the theft of Shannon’s car, the gas station robbery and be questioned for the double murder of his step-mother and half brother.
On Aug. 28 he was transported to Pennsylvania.
On Oct. 7, Turner was formally charged with two counts of criminal murder, one count of burglary, and four counts of theft by unlawful taking.
According to the criminal complaint, Turner stole several items from the victims’ home – his father’s .22 caliber rifle, Shannon’s .22 caliber semi-automatic handgun, a safe, and prescription medications. According to police, the two guns stolen were not used in the homicide.
Crawford County District Attorney Francis J. Fultz explained the following:
“Turner is not eligible to be released on bail because he is charged with two counts of criminal homicide that carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if he is convicted. The Pennsylvania Constitution does not permit defendants who are charged with an offense for which the maximum sentence is life imprisonment to be bailable.
“It is important to remember that the charges that have been filed against Jack Turner are merely accusations and that Turner is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.”
While awaiting trial, Turner received an additional charge for stealing a car in Titusville the day before the murders.
He is now facing charges of theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief filed by the Titusville Police Department. Turner allegedly stole a white 2016 Chevrolet Cruze during the early morning hours of Aug. 9.
According to the arrest affidavit for the new charges, Turner took the car from 225 Brook St. at 3:46 a.m. Aug. 9 and drove it to West Mead Township, outside of Meadville. Between Titusville and West Mead Township, substantial damage was caused to the car that was found abandoned at a gravel pit off Shartle Road around 6:30 a.m. Aug. 9, according to the affidavit. The car is considered a loss, valued at $10,083.58.
Witnesses identified Turner as the man who stole the car as well as the man who was seen driving it.
Turner is being held in county jail in lieu of $20,000 bond in the auto theft case and faces a preliminary hearing on the charges Oct. 29.
A motive for the murders is still unknown.