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Last updated 5:36PM ET
December 2, 2021
Death Sentence Upheld in Shooting of Minister
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - The Alabama Supreme Court Friday upheld the conviction and death sentence given a Bay Minette man for the 1999 kidnapping and shooting death of a Baldwin County minister.

In a 7-0 ruling, the high court upheld the death sentence given 42-year-old Donald Deardorff for the murder of the Rev. Ted Turner, 56, who was abducted in September 1999 from his Spanish Fort home. His body was found almost two years later near a remote logging trail in northern Baldwin County.

The Supreme Court upheld an earlier decision by the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals that affirmed Deardorff's conviction and death sentence. The high court rejected Deardorff's arguments that prosecutors used improper evidence to convict him and that the death sentence was improper because it was partly based on the determination that Turner's death was "especially heinous, atrocious or cruel."

The opinion, written by Justice Tom Parker, found that the execution-style murder properly fell into that category. According to court records, Deardorff and another man broke into Turner's house, bound his hands and feet with duct tape and over 24-hours forced him to write five checks totaling $21,750, which were cashed.

Two days later Turner was taken to the remote location in northern Baldwin County, where he was shot four times in the head, according to the court records. The other man, Millard Lee Peacock, led police to Turner's body and testified against Deardorff. In exchange for his testimony, Peacock pleaded guilty to two theft charges and received a 15-year prison sentence.

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