CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A man who confessed to killing a Charleston woman 14 years ago and dumping her nude body along a Roane County road was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Daniel Turner, 46, was a federal prisoner in Memphis, Tenn., when DNA evidence linked him to the crime.
Turner admitted he killed Terry Clark, 41, at her Lewis Street apartment in May 1999. He told a judge at his plea hearing last month he believed he was set up for a drug deal and robbery, and he killed Clark believing she was responsible.
But while Clark's body was found, the murderer never was, and the incident became part of the cold case file until this year.
Turner told Circuit Judge James Stucky that he always knew the crime would catch up with him.
"I always knew I'd answer for this one day," Turner said. "It did take me a long time. But I've had a lot of people in my family pass away, too. So I know a lot about love and about death.
"When the detective came, it really was a relief," he said.
Turner apologized to Clark's family, who attended the hearing and sat directly behind him in the courtroom.
Assistant Prosecutor Regan Whitmyer read a letter given to the judge by Clark's stepmother, Ruth Clark of Charleston. The woman cried as she listened to it being read.
"I was married to Terry's father, Paul, for 25 years," she wrote. "He died never getting closure in the death of his daughter. Now the mystery is solved as to who and why, but it does not erase the last 15 years of anxiety and heartbreak we suffered."
She said Paul Clark agonized over his daughter's murder and wished it could be solved.
"He had days and nights of pure hell, not knowing who killed Terry," Clark wrote in the letter. "I loved her as my own daughter. Terry still remains in the avenues of my mind with memories that never leave me."