Turner's DNA was taken five times since 1999. His attorney, Kanawha County Chief Public Defender George Castelle, told the judge that Turner should be commended for never denying the crime when first asked by detectives.
"I got a copy of the letter Mrs. Clark wrote," Turner said, "and I'll probably keep it with me a long time."
After blood and semen collected during Clark's autopsy and at Clark's apartment, at 1528 Lewis St., were entered into the Combined DNA Indexing System after more than a decade, the system provided Turner's name.
Charleston police Sgt. Bobby Eggleton traveled to Memphis to talk to Turner in jail and Turner eventually told Eggleton that Clark's death was an accident.
Turner said he had gone to Clark's East End apartment to make a drug deal. Clark, who sometimes worked as a prostitute, according to a transcript of the interview, was in bed with Turner when a male and female rushed into the room.
A fight broke out and, at some point, Clark got involved in the altercation, hitting Turner on the back, shoulders and neck with a boot, he told police.
"[Clark] was hitting me with a shoe," Turner said, according to the transcript. Somehow, the shoestring "got around her throat because that's what made her finally settle down. She wouldn't stop hitting me with it so, somehow, I got it and wrapped it around her. It all happened so fast," he told Eggleton.
In a panic, Turner said, he grabbed his clothes, threw Clark over his shoulder, got in his truck and sped out of town. Turner admits he was high the night Clark was killed.
Turner said he drove for almost an hour until pulling over on a narrow shoulder of U.S. 119 near Walton. Eggleton said in a previous interview with the Gazette that Taylor dragged Clark from his vehicle and left her on the side of the road.
Turner had faced up to 40 years on the charge. He told the judge that he had turned his life around while he had been in jail.
"I know you're going to sentence me to a number of years today," he said, "but I want you to know, I'm going to use those years wisely."
Reach Kate White at kate.wh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.