KANSAS CITY, Kan. (CN) – A state investigator who wanted to write a book about solving a high-profile murder tainted a federal grand jury for his own gain, a wrongfully indicted attorney claims in Federal Court. Rodney Turner says William Devaney, an investigator for the Kansas Attorney General’s office, intentionally peppered a federal grand jury with false statements about Turner’s alleged involvement in the 1987 murder of Charles Thompson, who was Democratic Chairman of the Wyandotte County General Committee.
Devaney made the statements in a hearing on an unrelated case involving corruption in the Board of Public Utilities, Turner says.
Turner, an attorney who had done legal work for the Board of Public Utilities, claims Delaney wanted the murder case to be “his swan song,” and says Delaney planned to write a book about the case.
Turner says Delaney repeatedly testified to a federal grand jury in 2008 that he believed Turner was involved or knew something about Thompson’s murder. Based in part on Delaney’s testimony, the grand jury delivered a 57-count sealed indictment against Turner: two counts of theft and 55 counts of presenting false claims.
Turner sought dismissal, claiming that Delaney’s testimony deprived him of due process and violated his Fifth Amendment right. “Defendant maliciously abused his position to induce the indictment and prosecution of Turner in violation of the U.S. Constitution,” according to the complaint.
The court dismissed the charges against Turner and found that the grand jury had been subjected to unsupported statements about the 20-year-old Thompson murder; that the murder was unrelated to the charges involving the Board of Public Utilities; and that Delaney’s attempt to link Turner to the murder was improper and tainted the jury, according to the complaint.
Turner seeks damages, including $300,000 for legal services and $400,000 in lost business, for violations of his Fourth, Fifth and 14th Amendment rights. He is represented by Arthur Benson.