A Richmond man who shot and killed a man in 2011 in retaliation for his brother’s death was sentenced during an emotional hearing in Martinez today to 75 years to life in prison. Gil Turner, 28, was sentenced in a Martinez courtroom this morning for the murder of 46-year-old Tony “T.T.” Reynolds of Sacramento on Dec. 3, 2011, in Richmond.
He was convicted of first-degree murder with the use of a firearm and for a prior conviction enhancement for armed robbery under California’s Three Strikes law. Turner had long believed Reynolds was responsible for the shooting death of his brother about seven years earlier, according to Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Jason Peck. When the defendant saw Reynolds walking near his home in the 800 block of Griffin Drive around 1 p.m., he bent down and pretended to tie his shoe, then turned and shot the victim multiple times in the back, according to the prosecutor. “It was a cold, callous and calculated execution of an innocent person who did not deserve what happened to him and whose family has suffered immensely,” Judge Theresa Canepa said today.
Family members who spoke in court recalled getting phone calls telling them that Reynolds had been murdered. “The last time I saw him, he was lying on the ground with a bag over him,” the victim’s son, 25-year-old Antonio Reynolds, said. Family members who arrived on the scene were told to stay away from Reynolds’ body, which had become evidence. Relatives today described the victim as a family man and a devoted father of five who went out of his way to help people. “My brother’s death has affected so many people,” the victim’s sister, Desena Townsend, said. His mother, Irma Snipes, told the court, “Everywhere I walked, people would say to me, ‘You got a good son.'” Peck said Reynolds’ reputation spurred many community members to help with the police investigation into the murder.
A neighbor’s phone call led police on the day of the killing to Turner’s friend’s home, where he was found hiding in a closet, the prosecutor said. Several of Reynolds’ relatives today said they’ve seen Turner smile and smirk throughout the court proceedings and that he hasn’t shown remorse. According to Peck, Turner wrote rap lyrics in jail referencing the murder and honoring his slain brother — a piece of evidence one relative also cited today as proof of his remorselessness.
Sitting next to his attorney in court today, the defendant denied writing the lyrics and apologized to the family. “I loved T.T. like everybody else did,” he said. “I apologize for what happened. If I could, I would bring him back,” Turner said.
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