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Napa jury finds man who assaulted infant to be a sexually violent predator

Napa jury finds man who assaulted infant to be a sexually violent predator

  • Updated
Thomas Clifton Turner,

Thomas Clifton Turner,

On Tuesday, a Napa Superior Court jury found that a Napa State Hospital patient convicted in the 1980s of a horrific crime against a 3-month-old infant in Vacaville, is a sexually violent predator.

Thomas Clifton Turner, 57, will be committed for treatment for an indefinite period of time to the California Department of State Hospitals at Coalinga.

Judge Mark Boessenecker presided over the six-day trial in which two psychologists testified that Turner currently suffers from multiple mental disorders that predisposed him to act in a sexually violent, predatory manner. The doctors said there was a substantial danger that he would re-offend if released into the community.

Turner had been convicted of an attack on a 3-month-old infant in 1987. He entered a Vacaville home while the parents were sleeping, took a baby from her crib, and violently sexually assaulted her, the Napa District Attorney's Office said in a news release.

Turner left the severely injured infant covered in ants and blood, in a field.  When the parents awoke to discover their baby was gone, the police were called and a massive search was organized. The baby was finally found six and a half hours later, but had significant blood loss and needed immediate and follow up surgeries. The respondent was arrested, covered in the infant’s blood, as he continued to prowl in the surrounding neighborhood, the DA's office said.

After serving a 26-year sentence, Turner was deemed a mentally disordered offender and was committed to the California Department of State Hospitals for treatment. In 2011, while at Napa State Hospital, Turner was convicted of additional crimes for threatening two staff members in separate incidents. After serving a six-year prison sentence for the criminal threats, a petition alleging that respondent was a sexually violent predator was filed by the Napa County District Attorney’s Office.

A sexually violent predator is a person who has been convicted of a qualifying sexually violent offense against one or more victims and has a diagnosed mental disorder and is likely to engage in sexually violent criminal behavior. The vast majority of sex offenders are not sexually violent predators as this is a very rare finding, the DA's Office said.

"To prey upon a 3-month-old infant stands out in its pure depravity," said Deputy District Attorney Diane Knoles, who prosecuted the case. 

The Napa Fire Department has put together an educational video parody based on the original Talking Heads' song and video titled “Burning Down the House”. Their version is called "“Don’t Burn Down Your House.”

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