Local man pleads to manslaughter 19 years after Garyville killing

Published 12:14 am Saturday, September 9, 2017

LAPLACE — Crandell Turner, 36, of Garyville pleaded guilty to manslaughter Aug. 21, a resolution coming nearly 20 years after his arrest for killing 29-year-old Bobby Volion, according to court records.

Turner was sentenced to 25 years with the Department of Corrections and given credit for time served since June 30, 1998.

According to District Attorney Bridget A. Dinvaut’s office, Judge Mary Hotard Becnel found Turner incompetent to stand trial during the preliminary stages of the criminal prosecution and ordered Turner confined and treated by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

Turner was committed to the Eastern Louisiana Mental Health Hospital in Jackson, where he received treatment until March 22, 2016, when the Department of Health and Hospitals made a medical determination that Turner was no longer considered a danger to himself or others.

As such, Turner failed to obtain a continued Judicial Commitment Order from Judge Kathryn E. Jones of the 20th Judicial District Court.

The Department of Health and Hospitals then sought to release Turner to his family.

Dinvaut said the St. John the Baptist Parish District Attorney’s Office sought review of Turner’s competency to stand trial. Turner was subsequently found competent by Becnel and her successor, Judge E. Jeffrey Perrilloux.

Because Turner was a juvenile at the time he killed Volion, Dinvaut said he could not be kept in jail without the possible benefit of parole and could not receive the death penalty.

After discussing the matter with the victim’s family, the D.A.’s office offered Turner a plea agreement to the reduced charge of manslaughter.

The decision was made with the blessing of the victim’s family and in consideration of the youthfulness of Turner at the time of the offense, Dinvaut said.

At the time of sentencing, a representative of the Volion family appeared in court and spoke through Assistant District Attorney J. Philip Prescott Jr., informing the court the Volion family was pleased Turner accepted responsibility for his involvement in the killing. Prescott led the prosecution. Turner was represented by attorney Lisa Parker of the Public Defender’s Office.

Volion was killed June 28, 1998, the result of a brutal armed robbery at Garyville’s Junior Food Mart, police said at the time. Volion had been married for less than seven months at the time of his death.

Volion, of Garyville, had recently started working at Junior Food Mart to earn enough money for medical treatment for his wife, reports from 1998 indicate.

Family members told L’OBSERVATEUR in 1998 that Volion didn’t want to take the job because it was dangerous and he would not be permitted to carry a gun.

He was on the store’s telephone near the cashier’s post unarmed and standing with his back to the door when an intruder walked in and fired four times into his back, mortally wounding him, police said.

Volion’s family said the intruder called Volion by name before shooting him and then told the female cashier he was not going to shoot her as he took cash from the register and made his escape.

At the time, the store’s owner said the security guard was introduced to head off loitering and shoplifting and there had only been one previous armed robbery in 20 years.

Turner was initially charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery.