Jury urges death penalty for Oregon bank bombers

By Teresa Carson

PORTLAND, Oregon (BestGrowthStock) – A jury recommended the death penalty on Wednesday for a father and son convicted of murdering two police officers and maiming a third in the bombing of a bank they were trying to rob.

Under Oregon law trial judges actually pronounce sentencing but are generally bound by the jury’s decision. The two men convicted in the bombing case, Bruce Turnidge, 59, and his son, Joshua, 34, are scheduled to be formally sentenced on January 24.

The state of Oregon last carried out an execution in 1997.

The Turnidges were convicted earlier this month of aggravated murder in the December 2008 bomb blast that killed officers Thomas Tennant and William Hakim in Woodburn, Oregon, about 30 miles south of Portland.

The bomb went off while Hakim, a bomb technician, was handling the device. Woodburn police chief Scott Russell, who lost a leg in the explosion, attended the trial in Salem, Oregon. A bank employee also was hurt in the failed robbery attempt.

During the trial, prosecutors said the Turnidges, who were trying to keep their faltering biodiesel company alive, harbored anti-government and racist views.

The jury deliberated less than a full day before finding each defendant guilty of 18 charges, including aggravated murder, attempted murder, assault and unlawful manufacture of a destructive device.

The pair wore business suits at their sentencing hearing, and they were handcuffed after the jury recommendation of death was read to them.

Jurors could have opted for life with or without the possibility of parole rather than the death penalty. Only two convicts have been executed in Oregon since 1962, and the state has 34 inmates on death row.

(Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Steve Gorman)

Jury urges death penalty for Oregon bank bombers