Man refuses to testify in hearing about 1987 rape case



NEWTON, N.C. - In court Thursday, a man refused to testify as part of a deal that could have cleared another man of rape.

Albert Turner told Eyewitness News repeatedly he didn't have anything to do with the 1987 rape, despite his fingerprints being found in the victim's apartment.

But when he got in front of the judges, he and his attorney weren't talking.  

“I believe I gave all my answers to the people who come and look for me,” he said.

It was the only question Turner answered in front of the three-judge panel trying to determine if Willie Grimes should be cleared of the 1987 rape and kidnapping of a 69-year-old woman.  

“At this time, we are going to raise our right against self-incrimination,” defense attorney Scott Reilly said.

Reilly didn't want Turner testifying because of an arrest last week for a different rape in the 1970s. 

Last December, Grimes' attorneys said they discovered fingerprints taken from a banana inside the victim's apartment in the 1987 rape matched Turner's. That is important because the victim told police at the time her attacker ate fruit after the rape.

“I didn't have nothing to do with it,” Turner said. “Nothing about it.”

While Turner wasn't talking with the judges, he did talk with Eyewitness News about the 1987 rape, including discussing the fingerprints.

“They're talking about they found my fingerprints,” Turner said. “Me and a girl go to use a telephone.”

But family members of the victim don't believe she allowed anyone to use her phone. 

The lead investigator in the case testified he never interviewed the victim in the case, and Eyewitness News has learned the fingerprints on the banana weren't connected to Turner until last year.

Grimes sat just feet away from Turner in court Thursday when he refused to answer questions from the district attorney.

“I don't have nothing to say to him,” Turner said when asked what he had to say to Grimes. “They charged him.”

Both sides said they've wrapped up testimony and will be ready to give closing arguments Friday.  The judges could rule on whether to exonerate Grimes sometime after that.