The Fayette Citizen-News Page

Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Girlfriend arrested for hiring men to beat up live-in boyfriend during home invasion


A Fayetteville man was tied up and beaten at a Woodbyne Drive home last week in a home invasion plot hatched by his girlfriend, police say.

Richard J. Turner was beaten in the head with a handgun after two black males entered the house Tuesday, according to police reports. Two days later, his girlfriend, Vernell L. Johnson, was arrested after admitting to detectives that she hired two men to "rough him up," said Lt. Beverly Trainor of the Fayetteville Police Department.

"She did confess to hiring people to do it," Trainor said.

Johnson, 50, was arrested Thursday for conspiracy to commit armed robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault and false imprisonment.

Turner was tied up by two black male assailants who entered the home late Tuesday night, Trainor said. He was beaten in the head "numerous" times with a pistol they took from him, according to arrest warrants filed against Johnson.

The suspects also used pepper spray on Turner, and that canister was recovered by detectives although the handgun hasn't been found yet, Trainor said.

After the men left the home, Turner was able to break free of the tape, Trainor said. After doing so, he went to a neighbor's house to contact police, she said.

Johnson, who left the residence after the two men entered, drove to the police station to report the crime.

Turner was taken to Fayette Community Hospital where he was treated for cuts to the face and later released, Trainor said.

Johnson claims Turner has physically abused her "occasionally" in the past, although there are no records of police responding to such calls at their residence in the past, Trainor confirmed.

Many of the details are still unraveling about what took place during the invasion as detectives sort out conflicting statements from witnesses, Trainor added. Although the kidnapping charge was filed, it involves forcibly moving Turner to another room in the home; none of the incident took place outside the residence, Trainor said.

Johnson has been released from the Fayette County Jail on $50,000 bond according to jail records. She and Turner are not married although they were living together, Trainor confirmed.

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