Man held in beat­ing death of girl­friend

The Phoenix - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael P. Rel­la­han mrel­la­[email protected]­tu­ry­ Staff Writer

NORTH COVEN­TRY >> The East Pike­land man who au­thor­i­ties con­tend beat his girl­friend to death af­ter ac­cus­ing her of cheat­ing on him has been held for trial on first-de­gree mur­der charges.

District Judge John Hip­ple of North Coven­try on Dec. 17 or­dered Mark Turner bound over to Com­mon Pleas Court on all charges against him for the Nov. 2 death of 45-year-old Rachel Yea­ger.

Turner is be­ing held with­out bail in Chester County Prison.

Ac­cord­ing to Deputy District At­tor­ney Michele Frei, who is pros­e­cut­ing the case of fa­tal do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, the pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing con­sisted of tes­ti­mony by Chester County De­tec­tive John O’Don­nell, the lead in­ves­ti­ga­tor in the case.

O’Don­nell took a video­taped state­ment from Turner in the early morn­ing hour of Nov. 2 at the Pottstown Po­lice Depart­ment head­quar­ters, where Turner was brought af­ter po­lice were called to the home he and Yea­ger shared on Ridge Road in

the town­ship north­west of Phoenixville.

Turner told the de­tec­tive that he had punched and kicked Yea­ger af­ter be­com­ing up­set that she may have slept with an­other man in­side their home that day.

The de­fen­dant told O’Don­nell that he had been at work as a handy­man that day but had come home at some point to find Yea­ger and a friend in­side the house, drink­ing al­co­hol. He told the man to leave, and then re­turned to work.

Af­ter leav­ing his job, Turner said he went to two bars, one in Phoenixville and an­other in Up­per Prov­i­dence, where he drank. He left the se­cond bar with a quart bot­tle of beer, and re­turned home to find Yea­ger alone.

He said that he went up­stairs to his bed­room, but that when he turned down the sheets he no­ticed a wet spot on the bed that con­vinced him that Yea­ger and the friend had had sex there.

Turner punched Yea­ger in her head with a closed fist re­peat­edly, hit her on both sides of her jaw, and used his steel-toed work books to kick her in the vagi­nal area mul­ti­ple times.

East Pike­land Po­lice re­sponded to a 911 re­port of a do­mes­tic dis­tur­bance, and found Yea­ger un­re­spon­sive on the couch. She was trans­ported to Phoenixville Hospi­tal, then to the trauma cen­ter at Paoli Hospi­tal, where she lin­gered on life sup­port for some time, but died at ap­prox­i­mately 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 2.

The au­topsy, which O’Don­nell pre­sented to the court in pre­lim­i­nary form, re­vealed that Dr. Gary Collins de­ter­mined that Yea­ger died of blunt im­pact in­juries to her head.

Tuner, 53, was rep­re­sented at the hear­ing by at­tor­ney Frank Moser of Philadel­phia.

The case will now be listed for trial.

Mark Turner

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