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Masterson guilty of first-degree murder; family says life in prison not enough

David Masterson
Posted: Apr. 15, 2015 4:26 pm Updated: Apr. 29, 2015 4:26 pm
By DON O'BRIEN
Staff Writer | 217-221-3370
dobrien@whig.com | @DOBrienWHIG

QUINCY - The family of Jason Tournear walked away from the Adams County Courthouse Wednesday afternoon wishing for more.

They had just watched a jury hand David Masterson, the man who police said beat Tournear to death on Dec. 13 with a 29-inch lead pipe, a quick conviction of aggravated first-degree murder. It took a jury less than two hours to convict Masterson, who faces natural life in prison when he is sentenced June 12 by Judge William Mays.

Life in prison, Tournear's family said, isn't enough.

"I don't feel like we got justice for Jason here," said Connie Woosley, Tournear's mother who now lives in Texas. "If this would have happened in Texas, (Masterson) would have got the death penalty. I believe in cases like this, there should be the death penalty everywhere. This was the most heinous thing. I've never seen anything like this in my life."

Woosley sat through the entire trial, subjecting herself to graphic images of her son after he had been hit by Masterson at least 12 times the lead pipes while seated in a chair in an apartment at 905 Jersey.

Tournear's widow, Marcella, tried to take in as much of the trial as she could, but some of the images were too much to take.

"I wanted justice for Jason," Marcella Tournear said. "I wish the death sentence was here."

Tournear's family sat through Masterson's testimony on Wednesday morning when he said he was simply defending himself against a drunken Tournear on the night of the incident. Family members said they knew the story was made up.

"Jason was asleep," Marcella Tournear said. "I knew immediately when I saw how his feet were (in the crime scene photos). Jason was passed out asleep."

The jury of six women and six men agreed with the Tournears, with Adams County State's Attorney Jon Barnard and with what the evidence ultimately showed -- that Tournear was sitting in a chair in Masterson's living room during the entirety of the beating.

"What happened was an orgy of violence born of twisted rage from the darkest part of this man's soul," Barnard said, pointing at Masterson. "It was an act of pure evil."

Barnard asked the jury to discount Masterson's version of what happened.

"It is hard to classify the defendant's shifting version of what happened as nothing other than world-class bobbing and weaving," Barnard said. "What he claimed happened is pure baloney. Jason Tournear was slaughtered in that chair."

Chief Public Defender Holly Henze, who represented Masterson, tried to convince the jury that her client acted in self-defense.

"This case is still about the right to defend oneself in one's own home," Henze told the jury.

There was extra security in the courtroom when the verdict was read - 11 law enforcement officers, including Sheriff Brent Fischer.

Masterson was the only witness called by the defense after the prosecution presented eight witnesses over the first two days of the trial.

Tournear's family was happy that the prosecution was able to get the jury to agree to the most severe charges. The jury could have found Masterson not guilty and also had the option of second-degree murder if they believed he had acted in self-defense.

"I'm very thankful for Jon Barnard," Woosley said. "I think he did an excellent job. I'm in awe of the job he did. It was perfect."

Mays revoked Masterson's $5 million bond. This was the 51-year-old's fourth felony conviction.