October 17, 2019 started off as a normal day for Matthew Trussler and Melissa Turner. The couple went shopping at Home Depot and Publix, then had lunch at the home they shared near Tampa, Florida. Hours later, Trussler was found dead near their swimming pool.
Turner said she frantically called 911 when she discovered Trussler’s lifeless body the next day.
“He’s cold,” she told the 911 operator. “He’s not responsive.”
When investigators arrived at the crime scene, they quickly got to work. Turner agreed to go to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for questioning. Turner told investigators she did not know how Trussler died.
As investigators scoured the neighborhood, then-Sheriff’s Detective Ryan LaGasse said he noticed a neighbor’s surveillance camera facing the direction of Turner and Trussler’s home. He reviewed the footage, in which he heard loud voices coming from their home.
“And then I hear what sounds like screaming, screaming,” LaGasse told 48 Hours.
LaGasse noted that as he continued to listen to the camera audio, he heard phrases such as “Get up now” and “So f****** die,” which he said, sounded like a woman’s voice.
Back at the sheriff’s office, investigators confronted Turner about the voices and screams coming from their home throughout the night. At first she said she had no memory of screaming and yelling, but when pressed by detectives she remembered the argument.
“He woke me up and we argued about it because he was still up at four in the morning drinking,” she told detectives.
Turner also told detectives that the argument got physical and Trussler choked her. She claimed to have grabbed his knife and stabbed him.
“I thought he was going to kill me,” Turner told 48 Hours.
During the interview, detectives discovered a large cut on Turner’s hand. She told them she got cut when she picked up a broken glass earlier that morning.
Turner shared more of her story with “48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty on “Melissa Turner’s Closing Act,” which airs Jan. 14 at 10/9c on CBS and streams on Paramount+.
Another development that would help investigators is the discovery of an ADT camera in the couple’s home that recorded Turner and Trussler’s movements that night.
“He walks calmly, unarmed in the ADT videos, and she follows hunched over in anger,” prosecutor Chinwe Fossett told 48 Hours.
Prosecutors also believe the tape shows blood on Turner’s hand from that cut, which they say happened when she stabbed Trussler.
Despite Turner’s version of events, she was arrested and charged with second degree murder with a weapon. Two years later, on February 14, 2022, Turner was tried.
Throughout the trial, Turner maintained that she acted in self-defense.
“I thought he was going to kill me and I was trying to get him to stop,” Turner told jurors.
“And I loved it,” she added.
Turner’s attorney, John Trevena, brought in an audio expert who testified that he believed the voices recorded on the neighbor’s camera had been turned up in volume.
“I find it very suspicious that Ms. Turner’s voice is shrill,” Trevena said. “But when it came to Matthew Trussler.. you could barely hear mumblings.”
But prosecutors denied that the recording was manipulated.
At the end of the week-long trial, a jury found Turner guilty of second-degree murder. She was sentenced to 20.5 years in prison.
“They could have walked away from each other and started a different life,” Donald Goodwin, a juror at Turner’s trial, told 48 Hours. “Melissa Turner chose to kill Matthew Trussler.”