A SUSPECT charged in the death of Secoriea Turner two weeks ago denies he had anything to do with her murder — but turned himself in on Wednesday.
Julian Conley, 19, has been charged with felony murder and aggravated assault in the shooting that left the eight-year-old girl dead in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 4.
Secoriea was killed near the Wendy's restaurant where Rayshard Brooks was fatally shot by a police officer on June 12.
Authorities said a friend of the girl’s mom tried driving through illegally placed barricades before at least two people in a crowd of armed people opened fire on their car.
Police issued two warrants on Wednesday for Conley's arrest and he turned himself in around 4.30pm.
His attorney, Jackie Patterson, said Conley was peacefully protesting and witnessed the shooting — but didn’t open fire, although he said he was armed.
“It is no doubt this comes as a shock,” Patterson said. “Why would you want to charge a man who saw a crime but did not participate in a criminal act?”
“Police would have a better chance at winning the lottery than getting a conviction on my client.”
“Because I had him on TV, and now they want to charge him,” Patterson told WSB-TV.
Conley turned himself in hours before Secoriea was laid to rest.
Patterson said Conley saw himself identified as a second person of interest in her death and believed he needed to “set the record straight.”
“At the end of the day, I had nothing to do with it,” Conley told the news outlet. “I feel terribly sorry about what happened to Secoriea Turner.”
Conley said that on July 4, the man driving the car the eight-year-old was in drove through a barricade and hit a man holding a rifle.
“When that person fell to the ground, the person got up and started firing at that vehicle,” Patterson said.
“He was in disbelief that people were shooting at the vehicle.”
The attorney added to CNN that Conley claims there were "between three and four people" who fired on Secoriea's car.
"It was so much chaos," Patterson said Conley described the scene.
Conley said he doesn’t know the man’s identity, but police have said the shooters were two men.
The girl’s parents have pleaded for the public to help them find out who killed Secoriea.
A total of $50,000 in reward money was offered for the apprehension and conviction of those responsible.
At her funeral on Wednesday, Secoriea was described as bringing joy to everyone around her.
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When she began first grade, she walked into class with a unicorn backpack and “she was cute and bright with a smile to adore,” her teacher recalled.
“She sprinkled her magic all over the class, bringing laughter and joy to all of our faces,” she said. “Really, she made my heart smile and her life can teach us all a valuable lesson.”
“So the lesson from Secoriea today is to be a unicorn — find your magic, use your power, speak your truth, spread your wings, and share your shine.”