By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer
HAMILTON - Janie Turley took extraordinary steps to protect her daughter from an ex-boyfriend.
Turley let her daughter move in with her; they shared a small one-bedroom apartment. She installed a surveillance camera in the building's hallway and watched parking-lot arrivals from a monitor in her living room.
And on the breakfast table, alongside a vase of silk flowers, Turley kept two more safeguards handy: a court restraining order and a canister of pepper spray.
Despite all that, Turley told a Butler County jury on Tuesday, she was unable to save her daughter, Angela, from Anthony Darnell Mason last May 13.
"I wasn't close enough to get the gun away from her head," Turley said. She began sobbing and asked to take a break from testifying in Mason's trial, which began Monday in Common Pleas Court. If convicted of killing Angela Turley, Mason could face a death sentence.
Mason, 44, who has lived in Covington, Erlanger and Elsmere, is charged with aggravated murder, aggravated burglary and felonious assault.
Authorities accuse him of barging into the women's apartment, hitting Janie Turley on the head with a gun, then firing the shot that killed Angela Turley, a 27-year-old Internal Revenue Service worker. Mason denies the charges and has given statements that conflict with Turley's descriptions of events.
As Turley spent two emotional hours on the witness stand Tuesday, Judge H.J. Bressler granted three recesses so she could regain her composure.
Sitting in the gallery, many of Turley's 18 supporters often cried, too. At the defense table, Mason dabbed his eyes with a balled-up tissue and swiveled his chair sideways.
Turley said Mason followed her from a parking area to the apartment door, saying he wanted to repay Angela Turley a $500 loan. Turley said Mason pushed her through the door and pointed a gun at her.
Angela Turley came from a rear room and the three struggled over the gun. Janie Turley felt a sharp blow to her head and heard a shot; police later found that slug on the carpet.
Turley demonstrated how her daughter crouched low, with both hands over her ears. Mason was standing behind Angela Turley when he pushed her head down with his left hand and fired two shots, Turley said. One shot went into Mason's left hand, the other into Angela's head, prosecutors say.
Then, Turley said, Mason used his foot to brush aside the body and ran from the apartment.
About 90 minutes later, police in Covington found Mason at his mother's house. Sgt. Robert Ervin said Mason, who had a bloody rag wrapped around his hand, claimed Janie Turley had pulled a gun on him.
Within an hour, Mason made a different allegation while being treated at St. Elizabeth Hospital North. In a tape-recorded statement to a second officer, Mason said it was Angela Turley who had aimed a gun at him. During a struggle for the weapon, "I heard the gun go off. ... I didn't see nothing," Mason said.
Meanwhile, Janie Turley said she kept urging medics who were attending to a gash in her scalp, "Take her (Angela) to the hospital first. She's been shot."
Turley had felt a faint pulse on her daughter.
"I asked God to let her be OK," Turley said. "I didn't want to believe she was already gone."
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