February 16, 2022
Issues: Fighting Bigotry, Law Enforcement Bias
Grand Jury Recommends Murder Charge for Man who Killed Muslim in Texas
Family of Adil Dghoughi: “We are one step closer to getting justice”
Caldwell County, TX — Last Wednesday, a grand jury in Caldwell County, TX recommended a first-degree murder charge against Terry Turner, a 65-year-old white man who shot and killed 31-year-old American Muslim Adil Dghoughi last fall. His family has been working tirelessly to ensure that Turner faces justice—specifically by demanding Turner face a first-degree murder charge, and to raise serious questions about the conduct of the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office.
- Read the letter Adil Dghoughi’s mother sent to the district attorney on Fed. 2, 2022
- Read the memo Adil Dghoughi’s brother sent to the district attorney on Dec. 2, 2021
Following the grand jury’s announcement, the family praised Caldwell County District Attorney Fred Weber for going forward with a first-degree murder charge, instead of a lesser charge. Muslim Advocates is helping the family of Adil Dghoughi share their story as they fight to ensure Terry Turner is held accountable for murdering their loved one.
“I asked District Attorney Weber, for the sake of God, sake of justice and sake of democracy, to bring justice to our beloved Adil by bringing us an indictment of first-degree murder,” said Fatiha Haouass, mother of Adil Dghoughi. “Today the district attorney stood up against those who think this murder was justified and showed me and the world the honorable person he is. I will travel home to Morocco with new trust and hope in my heart that the American system will hold Terry Turner accountable.”
“Terry Turner took my brother’s life like he was nothing. He executed my brother because Adil was lost,” said Othmane Dghoughi, brother of Adil Dghoughi. “There are no words to describe how hard it has been. In my darkest moments I cried because how could I face my brother’s grave if I allowed his life to be disrespected and diminished by law enforcement who believed Turner’s lies? Now, I will take my mom home to Morocco and I can visit my brother’s grave to tell him that we are one step closer to getting justice.”
Background on the case:
Adil Dghoughi (Ah-deel Drew-ree) was a dual U.S. and Moroccan citizen with an M.B.A from Johnson & Wales University who was looking for finance jobs in Austin, TX. On the night of Oct. 11, 2021, Adil missed his exit and got lost while driving to his girlfriend’s home from a party, leading him to pull over in front of Terry Turner’s house in Martindale, TX. Turner, who told investigators he saw the car from his house, approached and fired into the car at point blank-range, striking Adil in the head. Turner would later tell 911, “I just killed a guy” and claimed that Adil pointed a gun at him even though no gun was found in the car.
Officers from the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office then arrived and broke into the locked car to remove the unconscious Adil. He was then taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital where he died. Terry Turner was not arrested.
Background on the family’s fight for justice:
The next morning, police officers knocked on the door of Adil’s brother Othmane (Oss-man) Dghoughi to inform him that his brother had been in an accident but did not give him any information about the circumstances. For the next 11 days, Othmane did not eat or sleep and instead demanded answers from the Sheriff’s Office, called the media to bring attention to the case and did everything he could to get his brother’s murderer arrested. On Oct. 25, 2021, after Othmane successfully got local and national media to cover his brother’s murder, Terry Turner was finally arrested. Turner was allowed to wait until the next day to turn himself in and was released from custody after less than two hours.
Othmane then took his brother’s body to be buried in Morocco. After the funeral, Othmane returned to the U.S. with his and Adil’s mother Fatiha Haouass to continue to demand answers from the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office and hold Terry Turner accountable for murdering their loved one.
With the help of civil rights attorney Rebecca Webber, who agreed to help the family pro bono—as well as local groups like Mano Amiga, CAIR-Austin and many others—Othmane and Fatiha continued to push for accountability for Terry Turner and raised questions about the conduct of the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office.
As part of these efforts, Othmane wrote and sent a memo about his brother’s life to Caldwell County District Attorney Fred Weber on Dec. 2, 2021. On Feb. 2, 2022, Fatiha also gave an emotional letter to the district attorney imploring him to secure a first-degree murder indictment. On Feb. 9, Othmane and Fatiha’s efforts paid off when a Caldwell County grand jury recommended first-degree murder charges against Terry Turner. However, their fight for #JusticeForAdil is far from over.
- Why did it take 11 days to arrest Terry Turner? The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office has been able to arrest people in similar situations in short order. Why did it take them 11 days to arrest Turner, and only after Othmane took it upon himself to draw significant media attention to the case?
- How and why did the deputies access Adil Dghoughi’s phone? When Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived at the scene, they seized Adil’s phone “with the expectation of privacy surrendered on the device,” according to police affidavits. Additionally, the deputies stated that they searched the phone without a warrant “pursuant to there not being an expectation of privacy of found property.”
- Why did the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office treat Adil Dghoughi like a criminal and not Terry Turner? In addition to seizing and accessing Adil’s phone, the sheriff’s office issued sweeping subpoenas to Google seeking data about his GPS locations, photos, contacts and communications—all BEFORE they arrested Terry Turner. Investigators also issued a search warrant for Dghoughi’s Facebook account. After this inquiry, Facebook abruptly took down the account, robbing his family of precious photos, videos and messages.
Fatiha and Othmane are going to Morocco to grieve with the rest of their family. If you would like to contact the family and would like more information about Othmane and Fatiha’s fight for justice, please reach out to [email protected] or [email protected].
Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.