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Cold case: Omaha police nab gang member in 2013 murder; he's a suspect in 2 others

Cold case: Omaha police nab gang member in 2013 murder; he's a suspect in 2 others


The old saw goes: With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Omaha police have obtained a first-degree murder warrant for an Omaha gang member in a cold case: the 2013 killing of his onetime friend, Julius B. Vaughn, 19.

Bernard “B.J.” Turner Jr., 25, is in a Maricopa County Jail in Phoenix, awaiting extradition to Omaha to face charges in Vaughn’s death. Both Turner and Vaughn were members of the 16th Street Bloods, a street gang in Omaha.

It’s not the first time Turner’s name has been connected to a homicide. Turner also was accused of killing a man after a March 2016 melee at the Douglas County Courthouse. Jarrell Haynes, 22, had tried to enter the courthouse during the trial of a gang member accused of a double homicide but was denied entry.

Turner was accused of targeting Haynes because prosecutors were trying to get Haynes to testify in a gun possession case. At the time, authorities alleged that Turner followed Haynes to his home near 16th and Victor Streets. As Haynes stood on the porch, a gunman drove by and opened fire, killing him.

However, that case was dismissed after a key witness declined to testify against Turner.

Since then, Turner had been facing an attempted murder charge on accusations that he shot a man multiple times in Aurora, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. The man survived. That case also fell apart after a key witness declined to testify.

Turner is a suspect in an additional shooting death after Vaughn’s, a law enforcement official has said. However, authorities have refused to identify that case.

The Vaughn case has remained unsolved since Oct. 18, 2013, when he was found dead inside a car outside an apartment complex at 23rd and Vinton Streets in South Omaha. His body was discovered about 9:40 p.m. on that Friday.

Omaha Police Detective Dave Schneider, who is charge of the department’s cold-case unit, dove into the case this year. He declined Tuesday to comment on alleged motive or what led to the arrest, the second on a cold case this year.

Turner has been in the Maricopa County Jail for a year, though it is not clear why. He was scheduled to be released on Thursday but will now be brought to Omaha to face the murder charge.

“The importance of continuing to work on these cases, and having the community’s help is crucial,” Omaha Police Deputy Chief Ken Kanger said. “It is extremely important to hold individuals responsible for these heinous acts. We will always continue to work hard for the families and the community and want them to know we are doing all we can to solve these cases.”

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Reporter - Courts

Todd Cooper covers courts, lawyers, trials, legal issues, the justice system and government wrongdoing for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @CooperonCourts. Phone: 402-444-1275.

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