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Tape Amplifies Their Pain : Victim's Family Finds Cassette Cued in Truck Killer Stole From Son

September 30, 1996|J.R. MOEHRINGER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

BAYFIELD, Colo. — Outside a makeshift sanctuary, moments after a Sunday morning church service that featured peaceful hymns and thrumming guitars, a hard-core rap song suddenly filled the clear mountain air.

"I blast if I have to," a deep-voiced male singer threatened. "Don't make me have to!"

The young woman couldn't take it. She turned away, fear and disgust written across her face. She was showing someone that this was the very music--in fact, the same cassette--to which a troubled teen listened over and over, just after gunning down her younger brother, 20-year-old Joshua Turville. But now she'd heard enough.

"This tape should be in pieces," Shannon Santana said Sunday after hearing a few bars of the song, titled "Blast If I Have To."

"Someone should take an ax to it," said Scott Camp, a longtime friend of the Turville family.

Joshua Turville and two friends--Steven David Bates and John Anthony Lara III, both 20--left Orange County not long ago and settled in this picturesque and isolated town just outside the San Juan National Forest, where they hoped to build a frontier church with their bare hands.

Instead, 18-year-old Joseph Gallegos shot and killed them last Tuesday morning in the rear bedroom of a house they all shared.

Police have speculated that Gallegos, heartsick over a failed love affair, used hyper-violent rap music--and possibly drugs--to work himself into a homicidal rage. Then he turned that rage on the Orange County trio.

Now the Turvilles say they've found the best piece of evidence yet offered to support the police theory.

When Joshua Turville's father, Steven, reclaimed his son's truck--a Toyota 4-Runner that Gallegos stole after the killings and drove upstate to his ex-girlfriend's University of Northern Colorado dormitory--he found in the tape player a cassette cued to the song, "Blast If I Have To," which appears on the soundtrack of the film "Friday."

The volume of the car stereo was turned up loud, just as Gallegos left it, and the lyrics that blared from the speakers gave a chilling, expletive-laced description of Gallegos' spree.

"Player-hater got my name in his mouth," sings the male vocalist, listed on liner notes as E-A-SKI. "If I shoot this 9-millimeter, I'm damn sure he'll wash my name out."

Police say Gallegos used a 9-millimeter handgun, reported stolen recently from a local hardware store.

As the song continues, with a sprinkling of gunfire in the background, the lead vocalist describes shooting his enemies in the head.

Police say Gallegos shot his victims in the head, execution style, from point-blank range.

*

Why he did so may never be known. After holding his ex-girlfriend and three other female students hostage for several hours, Gallegos was shot and killed by a police sniper.

"The influence of Satan in the world influenced Joe," a sad-eyed Steven Turville said Sunday, moments after worshipers at Calvary Chapel of the Four Corners sang and prayed for his son.

Until a permanent church can be built, Calvary Chapel's nondenominational services take place in the Bayfield Elementary School gymnasium, half a mile from the crime scene.

On Sunday, Pastor Jeb Bryant delivered an upbeat sermon. He told 50 worshipers, including the Turville family, that Joshua Turville's death should be cause for celebration.

"Joshua is with the Lord," said Bryant, who received his religious training at Calvary Chapel in Santa Ana. "You know what Joshua is doing right now? Rejoicing. He's stoked. He's loving every minute.

"He doesn't have to worry about mortgages, car payments, work. I mean, the list goes on and on of things he doesn't have to worry about anymore."

Bryant, the first person to enter the house and discover the bodies, admitted that his faith was sorely tested by the grisly sight.

"I saw the bloodstains," he said, bringing gasps from several worshipers. "But that was not what gave Joshua life. It was the blood of Christ."

*

Following the service, Steven Turville and his wife, Mary, accepted hugs and condolences from many strangers who knew Joshua and admired his enthusiasm. They described the joy with which he sang and the fervor with which he prayed.

"The one thing you have that a lot of parents don't," said worshiper Rich Adams, "is that I really honestly think Josh was a martyr."

After a memorial service today, the couple plan to return to Orange with the body.

Both said they harbor no hatred or ill feelings toward Gallegos, and they agreed with Bryant that their son's death is an occasion for joy.

"I hadn't even thought about being angry," Mary Turville said, clutching a Bible to her chest.

"The forgiveness was instant," Steven Turville said. "It really was."

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