A North Little Rock used-car dealer serving a 25-year prison sentence for raping a 13-year-old girl whom he hired for what he claimed was a modeling photography shoot has accepted a concurrent five-year term for coercing a female employee to pose for pictures for him in an earlier encounter.
Sentencing papers filed Monday show Clarence Eugene "Beau" Turnbo, 67, pleaded guilty to possession of a defaced firearm and misdemeanor harassment in exchange for the five-year term imposed by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Leon Johnson. The charges together carry a 12-year sentence for repeat offenders like Turnbo, who is serving his third prison sentence. He has convictions from the 1970s for burglary, theft and escape.
Prosecutors called Turnbo a predator who lured his teenage victim into a trap at his January 2020 rape trial. A Pulaski County jury found him guilty and gave him the minimum 25-year sentence after hearing the girl describe how he had raped her, about a week before her 14th birthday, in December 2017 on a bed he kept in his car lot shop at 3004 E Broadway St.
The Arkansas Supreme Court upheld his conviction in September 2021. He won't be eligible for parole until April 2037, when he is 81.
According to trial testimony, the girl and her mother had met Turnbo when they responded to his Craigslist online ad for a photography model. They had signed a modeling contract with Turnbo for the girl to pose, according to police.
At Turnbo's trial, the girl testified Turnbo was having sex with her against her will at a bed in his shop when Turnbo's ex-wife walked in and saw what was going on. Turnbo stopped, told the girl to get dressed, then the ex-wife, 55-year-old Cynthia "Cindy" Turnbo, dropped her off at a North Little Rock McDonald's where the girl called a relative to pick her up, according to trial testimony.
Turnbo did not testify but denied raping the girl. His attorney acknowledged at trial that Turnbo had the girl touch him sexually, arguing the girl was exaggerating and lying about what had happened because she didn't want her family to find out she had sex with Turnbo for money. He was arrested in January 2018 and has been locked up since.
The gun and harassment charges stem from an investigation launched three months earlier when a 21-year-old Hot Springs woman called North Little Rock police in October 2016 to report how Turnbo had intimidated her into letting him take pictures of her by displaying a gun.
The woman told police she had met Turnbo by applying for a job he had advertised on Craigslist as an administrative assistant at his company, B&J Collision Center on East Broadway, describing how Turnbo made her sign a non-disclosure contract when he hired her, court filings show.
The woman said she'd worked for him about five days in October 2016 when he told her they were going to "play modeling" and that he was going to take photos of her. She said when she refused, Turnbo pulled out a handgun and put it on his desk while stating, "We are going to play modeling."
She said Turnbo ordered her to change clothes then took "questionable" photographs of her against her will using his computer tablet, according to court records.
The woman said she felt threatened and afraid, so she did what she was told, moving into a room on the premises with a bed.
Turnbo brought the weapon into the room and put it on a nightstand by the bed, telling her to unbutton her shirt and get into the bed. He put his hands on her breasts and remarked on her nipples, the woman said. When Turnbo told her to take her pants off, she said she needed to use the restroom first.
She told investigators used that opportunity to text her boyfriend to call the police. When she left the restroom she told Turnbo she had an emergency and had to leave, then grabbed her things and ran out of the building, court records show.
During a police search of the property three days later when Turnbo was arrested, detectives found a pistol with the serial number removed on the bed night stand and seized a shotgun and computer tablet along with the women's contract with Turnbo. He declined to answer any questions and spent a night in jail before posting a $20,000 bond.
Under terms of his guilty plea, two counts of felon in possession of a firearm were dropped.