Defendant in bank bombing trial points finger at dad

Defendant in bank bombing trial points finger at dad »Play Video
Josh Turnidge testified in his own defense Monday in a trial where he is accused of making and planting a bomb that killed two law enforcement officers and maiming a third inside a Woodburn bank in December 2008.

SALEM, Ore. - One of the defendants in the Woodburn bank bombing trial says he didn’t know a bomb was being built and didn’t help place it outside the bank in December 2008.

Josh Turnidge testified in his own defense Monday in the trial that accuses he and his father, Bruce, of building and planting a bomb that killed two law enforcement officers and seriously injured a third.

Josh admitted to buying parts used in the construction of the bomb and buying prepaid phone cards from a Salem Walmart but said he was innocent of the charges against him.

His defense attorney, Steven Krasik, asked him why he didn’t wear a disguise when he bought the items.

“I wasn’t doing anything illegal,” he said. “I didn’t see a reason or even think about disguising myself.”

Josh Turnidge said he bought the items at the request of his father who Josh said he believes made and planted the device that killed Oregon State Police bomb technician Bill Hakim and Woodburn Police Capt. Tom Tennant when it went off inside the West Coast Bank. Woodburn Police Chief Scott Russell lost a leg in the blast. Police had moved the bomb inside the bank to dismantle what they thought was a hoax device.

Josh said “you don’t win” when someone argues with his father. “He would rather argue with you all day and not concede the point than just concede and move on. … You just don’t argue.”

The 34-year-old told jurors that’s why he didn’t fight his father when, according to Josh, Bruce decided to change their travel plans on the day of the bombing. The two traveled in separate vehicles north toward Woodburn rather than go to Bend.

Josh said he and his father were separated twice that morning and that it wasn’t until the next day he knew something was wrong.

“He wouldn’t look at me. He looked down at the ground. He shook his head. He said to me, ‘no one was supposed to get hurt,’” Josh said. “It was mumbled. It was said to the floor. And I asked him, I said, ‘What? What did you say?’ And once again, ‘no one was supposed to get hurt.’”

Over objections from Bruce Turnidge’s defense team, Josh also spoke about growing up with a father he said constantly told of plans to rob banks and assassinate police.

“Plans of explosives - of blowing up a propane tank at a gas station – to make a big diversion to bring them in,” Josh said. “There were lots of different plans that way to eliminate police.”