Revolving Door Continues To Swing At Franklin Co. Juvenile Court
Updated: Apr 1
Concerned over a rash of crimes committed by juveniles, particularly car thefts, two years ago, the Columbus Division of Police and neighboring law enforcement agencies unleashed "Operation Game Over" to target and round up these young offenders.
17-year-old Tyrez Lawrence Lee Turner is on that list. Between September 2017 and April 2022, law enforcement officials said that Turner was charged 31 times for gun and car theft. He's also been charged with other crimes like aggravated burglary, assault, and receiving stolen property. "He's done everything but shoot somebody," said a disgruntled Columbus police officer. "He is a menace."
On Wednesday, it was game back on for the Columbus teen. Columbus Division of Police and Whitehall Police Dept. officers said that Turner and two of his friends, Jermiah Antonio Lewis and Carmello Anthony Riley, both 17, stole a vehicle that was left warming up on Martin Avenue in Whitehall.
According to the police reports, the teens commandeered the silver 2014 Honda Odyssey van around 4:08 p.m. For nearly 15 minutes, they led officers on a chase that abruptly ended when their vehicle ran over a spike strip near Cleveland Avenue and Chittenden Avenue.
The teens, according to police reports, bailed from the disabled van and ran off. Officers caught the three teens, all of whom had handguns. Turner, according to police reports, had two firearms.
Video clip of one of the suspects running from officers. Dash cam video courtesy of the Whitehall Police Dept.
Turner is charged with receiving stolen property (the van), carrying a concealed weapon, having weapons while under disability, and fleeing from police. Lewis and Riley are both charged with receiving stolen property and carrying a concealed weapon.
The three attended a preliminary hearing Thursday at the Franklin County Juvenile Court and, pending a court date on April 13, are being held at the Franklin County Detention Center.
Last April, a CPD officer suffered a broken left arm when he exited his cruiser and attempted to stop Turner, who was behind the wheel of a stolen SUV. Parker Perry, Public Information Officer for the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, said no future court dates had been set for this case.
In October of 2021, Turner streamed a live video on his Facebook page of him and another juvenile leading Obetz police on a chase in a stolen car while waving guns. Speeds reached up to 100 miles per hour.
For this report, I spoke with Columbus police officers who are familiar with Turner and his lengthy criminal history, and the prevailing question is why hasn't Turner been sent to a Juvenile Correctional Facility or, in the case of the more severe felonies, bound over to adult court?
I emailed that question to Judge Kim Browne, the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Domestic Relations and Juvenile Division Administrative Judge. Judge Browne emailed me the following response: "This is not my case. However, as you well know, judges are not permitted to speak publicly about pending litigation. We're going just to have to agree to disagree about whether it's a "courtesy" for you to keep sending me these types of emails. For more general comments about the "state of the court," you really need to speak to our PIO Parker Perry or our AJ James Brown. I have copied them above. Thank you for your continued interest in DRJ Court."
Neither Perry nor James Brown has provided me with a comment on why Turner hasn't been sent to a Juvenile Correctional Facility or bound over as an adult.
Said a Columbus Division of Police officer. "Prosecutors do a decent job, it's the justice system overall. It fails to hold juveniles accountable and what's worse is that the juveniles who are truly a problem KNOW IT. They are untouchable. It breeds boldness and creates kids who think they can get away with anything."