October 17, 2019 started out like a normal day for Matthew Trussler and Melissa Turner. The couple went shopping at Home Depot and Publix, and then had lunch at the home they shared near Tampa, Florida. Hours later, Trussler was found dead by his pool.
Turner said he frantically called 911 when he discovered Trussler’s lifeless body the next day.
“He’s cold,” she told the 911 operator. “He’s not responding.”
When investigators arrived at the crime scene, they quickly went to work. Turner agreed to go to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for questioning. Turner told investigators that he did not know how Trussler died.
As investigators canvassed the neighborhood, then-Sheriff’s Detective Ryan LaGasse said he noticed a neighbor’s surveillance camera looking toward Turner and Trussler’s home. He reviewed the footage, in which he heard loud voices coming from his house.
“And then I hear what sounds like screaming, screaming,” LaGasse told “48 Hours.”
LaGasse noted that as he continued to listen to the camera’s audio, he heard phrases such as “Get up now” and “Then die,” he said seemed to be a woman’s voice.
Back at the sheriff’s office, investigators confronted Turner about the voices and screaming coming from his home throughout the night. She at first said she didn’t remember yelling or yelling, but when pressed by detectives, she remembered the argument.
“He woke me up and we argued about it, because he was still up at four in the morning drinking,” he told detectives.
Turner also told detectives that the argument turned physical and Trussler strangled her. She claimed that she grabbed her knife and stabbed him.
“I thought he was going to kill me,” Turner told “48 Hours.”
During the interview, detectives discovered a large cut on Turner’s hand. She told them that she cut herself when she picked up broken glass that morning.
Turner shared more of her story with “48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty on “Melissa Turner’s Closing Act,” airing January 14 at 10/9c on CBS and Paramount+.
There would be another development that would help investigators: the discovery of an ADT camera in the couple’s home that recorded Turner and Trussler’s movements that night.
“He walks calmly, unarmed in the ADT videos, and she follows him hunched over and angry,” prosecutor Chinwe Fossett told “48 Hours”.
Prosecutors also believe the recording shows blood on Turner’s hand from that cut, which they say happened when he stabbed Trussler.
Despite Turner’s version of events, she was arrested and charged with second-degree murder with a weapon. Two years later, on February 14, 2022, Turner went to trial.
Throughout the trial, Turner maintained that he acted in self-defense.
“I thought he was going to kill me and I was trying to get him to stop,” Turner told the jury.
“And I loved him,” she added.
Turner’s attorney, John Trevena, brought in an audio expert who testified that he thought the voices recorded on the neighbor’s camera had been increased in volume.
“I find it very suspicious that Ms. Turner’s voice is screeching loud,” Trevena said. “But when it came to Matthew Trussler…you could barely hear murmurs.”
But prosecutors denied that the recording was tampered with.
At the end of the week-long trial, a jury found Turner guilty of second-degree murder. She was sentenced to 20.5 years in prison.
“They could have walked away from each other and started a different life,” Donald Goodwin, a juror in Turner’s trial, told “48 Hours.” “Melissa Turner chose to kill Matthew Trussler”.