JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Darrell Turner knows all about making bad choices and now he wants to teach young people about the importance of making good ones.
Turner, who played football at Mandarin High, was convicted of 2nd degree murder when he was 16. That action changed his life.
"I would be playing in college...on the way to the NFL," said the 22 year-old who is quarterbacking a community event called Luv N Basketball Classic and Life Fair. It will take place on Saturday, July 26, at Highlands Middle School off Dunn Avenue. The afternoon event is steered to young people with sports and music and positive messages about making good decisions.
Turner who was sentenced to five years and served three is on probation for being an accessory to murder remembers in detail when he faced a judge in dealing with the murder charge.
"I watched my mother faint in courtroom when judge told me looking at 30 years to life," said Turner. What he recalled about that moment in life goes even further.
Darrell Turner, who played football at Mandarin High, was convicted of 2nd degree murder when he was 16. Roger Weeder, First Coast News
"Watching that just hurts me to know that taking some else's loved one, I took my own as well," Turner told reporters following the announcement of the event that it is in response to violence in the city, a city with a ceasefire zone in place in parts of Northwest Jacksonville. The 'Operation Ceasefire' is the city and JSO's action to curb violence with more police officers on the street to solve and prevent crimes, plus laying a foundation of trust.
Turner says he is hoping to inspire and protect Jacksonville's youth, like his niece, Amiya. She says she is horrified about the recent shootings in Duval County.
"I am scared," said Amiya. "I don't want to be murdered or killed."
Turner says the event next Saturday is one of many he plans to be involved in. His brother, T'Juan, who is a recording artist will also play a role in delivering positive messages to young people.
T'Juan says he wants to change lives.
"It's crazy that our generation, that our society has to grow up, living in fear," said T'Juan. "Whatever happened to us dying the right way?"
"Gun violence is not the way to go," said Turner.