DECATUR — The police hunt for two killers continues as a coroner’s jury Thursday returned verdicts that a pair of violent deaths in Decatur were homicides.
The jury’s verdicts came in the May 30 shooting death of Suave L. Turner, 28, and the June 16 stabbing death of 36-year-old Darrell L. Boey. Both murders remain unresolved and the subject of police investigations.
The jury also returned a suicide verdict in the case of Michael S. Dittmer, 54, who was found June 24 hanging from a road bridge in the 2700 block of North Monroe Street.
In dealing with the Turner killing, Detective Chad Reed with Decatur Police told the jury officers had been detailed to HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital the night of May 30. Turner was pronounced dead in the emergency room at 11:38 p.m. after being dropped off at the hospital in a private vehicle with a gunshot wound to the chest.
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Reed said the driver of the car was interviewed and had witnessed the shooting, which happened at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Division Street. In response to questions by Macon County Coroner Michael E. Day and jurors, Reed said the witness had no information as to a suspect or motivation for the shooting.
“So at this point we’re basically looking at a circumstance where the incident is not clearly defined and you are still actively investigating …?” asked Day. Reed said that was correct.
In the stabbing death of Boey, Decatur Police Detective Brian Kaylor said police also had found no witnesses with information about who inflicted the fatal stab wound.
Kaylor said Boey’s body was found on the front porch of a house in the 1900 block of North Church Street at 10:35 p.m. Boey had been staying at the address but Kaylor said blood trail evidence showed he had been stabbed around the corner on West Peoria Avenue before staggering home. He had bled to death from a single stab wound to the groin.
Questioned by the coroner about the events leading up the homicide, Kaylor said family members said Boey had left the Church Street address about 7:30 p.m. on foot night he died, “and he indicated he was going to go to a liquor store,” Kaylor added. The other residents of the house had then left, not seeing Boey again until they found his body lying on the front porch steps.
“Would it be safe to say at this point information is still being sought and this investigation is ongoing?” asked the coroner. “That is correct,” replied Kaylor.
Mystery also surrounds the motive Michael Dittmer had for killing himself after he tied a length of rope to the road bridge in the 2700 block of North Monroe Street and hanged himself around 3:30 p.m. Day said eyewitnesses saw Dittmer jump to his death from the bridge railing.
Day said Dittmer suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and was a resident at the Decatur Manor Healthcare assisted living center at 1016 W. Pershing Road. He was able to look after himself and sign himself out of the facility to go outside, and often did.
Day said Decatur Manor staff described Dittmer as a “pleasant individual,” well adjusted and coping well. Day said no suicide note was found on his body or his room. “The folks at Decatur Manor were extremely upset and shocked,” said Day.
Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid