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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TCU alumnus beats abuse

By Bridgette Hall/reporter

Few people have their lives turned upside down in one day, but it happened to John Otis Turntine, the keynote speaker at the April 30 poverty summit on South Campus.

“June 6, 1992 — that was the day my life changed,” said the Weatherford College transfer and career center director. “My mother was brutally raped and murdered.”

John Otis Turtine speaks about his past that included his mother being murdered and his homelessness. Photos by Marah Irving/The Collegian
John Otis Turtine speaks about his past that included his mother being murdered and his homelessness.
Photos by Marah Irving/The Collegian

When Turntine’s mother was murdered, he and his two sisters were relocated from Greenville, Miss., to Everman to live with their father.

“Our dad was very abusive — mentally, physically and verbally,” he said.

One day, his father punched his older sister, who was 16 at the time, in the face. When Turntine tried to protect her, the father then turned on him. He was only 12. He left that day and never returned.

“That was the day I became homeless,” he said. “I left my house with some shoes, a T-shirt and some shorts.”

From that day, Turntine moved from house to house. He stayed with friends, teammates and teachers. He would often sleep outside.

“You don’t know pain until you have slept on the concrete,” he said.

During Turntine’s sophomore year at Everman High School, he finally found a place to call home. His girlfriend’s parents decided to take him into their home. He stayed with that family until he graduated from high school.

Because of his dominance on the football field and SAT scores, Turntine had many scholarship offers. He decided to stay close to home, so he signed with Texas Christian University.

“I was able to secure my degree,” he said. “I graduated cum laude from TCU.”

Turntine said he never would have overcome all of his adversities had it not been for his cultivating mentors throughout his life.

“I challenge you today to be part of the solution, not the problem,” he said.

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