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Mental facility patient gets OK to make occasional trips out

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Nitro man who shot at his neighbor's home believing the occupants were practicing witchcraft has been approved to make occasional trips away from his mental facility.

Joel Marshall Turley, 57, was determined to be incompetent to stand trial in October 2011. He was ordered to be taken to Sharpe Hospital in Weston, and later was transferred to River Park Hospital in Huntington.

On Monday, his attorney requested that Turley be allowed by the court to leave that facility twice a month for staff-supervised outings.

Tyler Reed, a River Park social worker, told Kanawha Circuit Judge Charles King that she considered Turley a danger to himself and others if he was not carefully supervised and adequately medicated.

She said the request to take Turley on outings to stores or restaurants came from the treatment team at River Park.

She said the exercise would "be so we can observe him out in the community."

Assistant Prosecutor Don Morris said the victim of Turley's shooting spree isn't happy about the new development.

"He heard he would be released. He was scared and upset," Morris said.

Reed said Turley would never be in Kanawha County on any trips, and Morris said Turley wouldn't likely ever be approved to return to any program in Kanawha County.

Reed said Turley was given anti-psychotic drugs at River Park and had counseling each week. 

Morris did not object to the request for outings if he is supervised and medicated.

Anthony Harrah awoke to gunshots being fired into his Third Avenue home in October 2010. Police found bullet holes in the windows, walls and elsewhere in the residence.

Harrah had been asleep on the couch and a child was present in the home also.

Morris said, "He fired ten shots into his neighbor's house. One bullet narrowly missed the resident of the house."

Authorities later found a .22 caliber rifle in Turley's bedroom, loaded with 14 rounds. He told investigators he was protecting himself against his neighbors, who he believed were practicing voodoo and witchcraft.

Turley was charged with wanton endangerment and obstruction of justice. Contact writer Cheryl Caswell at or 304-348-4832.


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