The teen boys that shot her said they were tired of receiving Snapchats from her.
When 14-year-old Deserae Turner met with two 16-year-old boys in a dry canal in February of this year, it’s unclear what she was hoping to accomplish, but it’s all-too-evident what the boys had planned. It resulted in Deserae being shot in the back of the head and left to die in the canal, only to be found hours later by family friends that were part of a larger search party. She was taken to the hospital immediately, where she would spend the next two months miraculously recovering from the typically-fatal wound and becoming one of many to ask questions about what caused her attack on that day.
The two teen boys, whose names have not been released because they are minors, are being tried for aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and obstruction of justice, and attorneys say they intend to try them as adults.
According to the teen who actually pulled the trigger, it all started when the two boys were hanging out, playing video games, and discussing how they wanted to “get rid” of Deserae because they found her Snapchats irritating.
“I just didn’t want anything to do with Snapchatting her anymore,” one of the 16-year-old boys said, according to a statement that was read out loud in court.
“Well, you’ve got a 6-inch blade, why don’t you do it yourself,” his friend replied, saying it was meant to be a crude joke.
The two decided to take the joke a step further and began plotting how they were going to isolate Deserae and use the blade to kill her. They settled on a disturbing plan to slit her throat, though it’s unclear exactly how they were able to lure her to the dried up creek bed. Both boys carried knives, but one of them brought a .22-caliber handgun that he took from underneath his brother’s mattress just in case things didn’t go according to plan.
The boy that brought the handgun found himself unable to stab Deserae once she was in front of him, and instead wound up pulling out his gun and shooting her in the head once she had turned around.
“That’s how this cruel, unsuspecting and terrible act occurred,” said Cache County Attorney James Swink in court when the boys were being charged in March.
After they shot her, they left her alone in the ditch and went through her backpack, ultimately taking $55 from her wallet and breaking her phone and iPod. They fled the scene but were likely identified as the attackers by Deserae once she awoke from her medically-induced coma.
The 14-year-old has made strides in her recovery and was finally released from the hospital to begin her outpatient treatment last week. She has undergone surgeries and rehabilitation to regain some functions that “many of us take for granted.”
“I am so thankful to be here today, to be alive,” Deserae told reporters at a press conference, her mother and father by her side. “I have been working really hard and still have a lot of work to do. I told my dad I am tougher than a bullet.”
When Deserae’s attackers were asked why they were compelled to steal her money after attempting to take her life, one of the boys responded that it was because of “greed.” Hearings will be held in May to determine if the boys will be charged as adults.