DALLAS — Former Dallas Madison High School basketball star Johnathan Turner pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Monday.
But Turner will not serve jail time — only probation — for the beating death last year of his former basketball rival and roommate, Troy Causey, who played for Wilmer Hutchins High School.
It was not the tough prosecution that Causey’s mother and stepfather had been seeking.
“I am angry, and I’m mad, and I have every right to be,” said Causey’s mother, Tammy Simpson. “You took my baby, and I don’t ever want you to be at peace for what you did.”
Simpson lashed out in anger while addressing Turner during his plea bargain hearing in state district court. She at times lost control of her emotions, talking of how her life — and that of her younger children — has changed.
The tragic story of Turner and Causey was told in a series of News 8 Investigates reports last year. It’s the story of how two roommates and friends — yet crosstown rival basketball stars — became involved in a recruiting scheme that ended tragically in a street fight over a video game.
“You guys came into the room with me,” said Causey’s stepfather Roferrel Simpson as he addressed Turner at Monday’s hearing. “I thought you guys were family, but it turned out that you were just liars.”
But prosecutors conceded they could never get that witness to cooperate, and felt the toughest penalty they could get was probation.
“The witnesses were just not willing to come forward and disclose to a jury the information that they were willing to disclose to the family, and originally to police,” explained Assistant District Attorney Jason Hermus.
The Simpson family has filed a civil suit against the Dallas Independent School District and the Dallas County Juvenile Department, accusing them of letting her son be improperly recruited and exploited.