A man facing charges in the deaths of his parents told a judge Monday that he recently moved to Conway after completing a rehabilitation program in the area.
Alexander Gray Turner, 23, of Conway made the statement during his bond hearing Monday before Myrtle Beach Municipal Court Chief Judge Jennifer Wilson. Bail for Turner was set at $50,000 for the charge possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
Turner and his girlfriend Chelsi Lelia Griffin, 19, each was charged Monday with two counts of murder in the death of Turner’s parents, Carrie Daley Turner, 52, and Steven Gray Turner, 61, of Durham, N.C., Lt. Joey Crosby said. She appeared in court Monday but her hearing was rescheduled after she asked that her attorney, Kirk Truslow, be present. Her hearing is rescheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday. Truslow also represents Sidney Moorer, who is charged with murder in connection with the disappearance of Heather Elvis.
Turner and Griffin must appear before a circuit court judge for bond hearings on the murder charges. Turner’s hearing is set for May 22, at Horry County Courthouse in Conway.
Turner told Wilson Monday that he’s been living in Horry County for about three months, and he originally came to the area for a PTSD rehabilitation clinic through the Wilmington Treatment Center. He said he graduated from the program recently and moved in with Griffin – who he referred to as his girlfriend – at The Cove apartments near Coastal Carolina University.
Prior to living with Griffin, Turner said he was living in a halfway house in North Myrtle Beach, he said. Turner also said he was unemployed and requested a public defender.
Turner also was due in court Monday in Roxboro, N.C. on charges of breaking and entering, larceny and obtaining property by false pretenses stemming from an incident in October, according to court records. Court records also show he pleaded guilty to a 2009 breaking and entering charge in Durham, and the same year was found guilty of driving with his license revoked.
When Wilson asked if he had any questions about bond, Turner replied, “I have the evidence to show my innocence in this whole case.”
Horry County Chief Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard said the Turners, whose bodies were found Friday in a room at the Landmark Hotel on Ocean Boulevard, died from gunshot wounds.
People who knew Turner’s parents remembered them as generous people.
“They were fine people, fine people,” said Dickie Smith, who worked for the Turners at the Mayo Marina Mart in Roxboro. The Turners sold the business last summer, Smith said.
“They wanted to sell all they had and move to the beach,” he said.
Angela Woods Hall of Roxboro, a family friend, recalled the Turners as generous and helpful people, “always involved with their kids with sports.
“Now it saddens me to know I will never see their smiling faces,” Hall said.
The Turners’ Durham, N.C. home, at 6 Maere Court, burned in September. Neighbors there declined to comment on the Turners.
Since the fire, they had been living at a vacation home on Mayo Lake in Person County, Smith said.
“She was a wonderful, wonderful lady,” he said. “I thought the world of her and her husband, both.”
Days before the couple’s bodies were found their son had been stopped in Surfside Beach and charged with unlawful carrying of a pistol and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to records with J. Reuben Long Detention Center. He was booked on Wednesday and released that evening on $3,592.50 bail. Surfside Beach police charged Griffin with possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana, according to Horry County’s Public Index.
In an affidavit filed against the Turner and Griffin, Myrtle Beach police said the two had five guns, but only two were recovered during Turner’s arrest on Wednesday.
A Surfside Beach police officer reported seeing a vehicle sitting next to a gas station at Fifth Avenue North and U.S. 17 Wednesday with two people inside who “appeared to be lost; they were talking and pointing in a manner that appeared to be a discussion about the direction of travel.”
The officer approached and smelled “very strong odor of marijuana,” according to the report. Officers ordered Turner and Griffin out of the vehicle and noticed guns.
Officers said they also found drug paraphernalia in the vehicle and marijuana on Griffin, according to police. Griffin’s driver’s license also was suspended in Virginia.
In the affidavit filed with the murder charges, Myrtle Beach police said that they learned Alexander Turner and Griffin were at the hotel and tried to extend the stay of the room, but it was denied by Landmark staff. Soon after, the couple was seen leaving the hotel in Turner’s parents’ vehicle, a 2015 Kia Optima.
Police also learned that credit cards belonging to Turner’s parents were used Friday after their bodies were discovered in the room, according to the affidavit.
Two others were taken were arrested Saturday after officers served a search warrant at Monarch Apartments on S.C. 544 near Coastal Carolina University, according to Crosby.
Grant Anthony Dollens, 20, of Columbia and Roxanna Lisa Cumpan, 18, of Pottstown, Penn., each is charged with accessory after the fact. Cumpan also is charged with possession of a controlled substance.
Both Dollens and Cumpan were being held Monday.
In affidavits filed Sunday against Cumpan and Dollens, Conway police said they helped hide Turner and Griffin, who were wanted by police.
Dollens was previously arrested on Feb. 28 and charged with disorderly conduct and released the next day on $455 bail, according to jail records.
Dollens and Griffin are each enrolled as students at Coastal Carolina University, said Martha Hunn, a CCU spokeswoman.
Maya T. Prabhu and Tonya Root contributed to this story. Jim Wise, with the Raleigh News and Observer, also contributed to this story.