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Next Court Date Set for Suspect in Veteran Merrill Exec’s Murder

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What You Need to Know

  • A preliminary hearing will be held Sept. 30 at L.A. Superior Court in Van Nuys for the accused murderer of BofA exec Michelle Avan.
  • Anthony Duwayne Turner is expected to appear at the hearing after posting bail, according to the L.A. DA's office.
  • A vigil was held Saturday for Avan, a 22-year veteran of Merrill Lynch.

The next court date has been set for the former colleague and ex-boyfriend of slain Bank of America executive Michelle Avan.

There will be a preliminary hearing on Sept. 30 at Los Angeles Superior Court in Van Nuys, California, for Anthony Duwayne Turner, the BofA broker who recently pleaded not guilty to murdering the head of BofA’s global women’s and underrepresented talent strategy, according to the office of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón.

The defendant was “released on bail and is expected to appear at the next court hearing,” a spokesman for Gascón told ThinkAdvisor on Tuesday.

Turner, 52, of Westchester, California, was arrested Aug. 5 and bail was set at $2 million, the Los Angeles Police Department had said.

Turner was charged with felony murder and first-degree residential burglary in his former girlfriend’s death, according to Gascón.

“He was represented at the arraignment by Kellen Isaiah Davis,” a spokesman for Gascón told ThinkAdvisor. Davis did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Avan’s family requested that Gascón file a special circumstances murder charge against Turner in addition to the charges filed by the district attorney, according to published reports.

Vigil Held

A vigil was held for Avan outside of her Reseda, California, home on Saturday, according to a local CBS report.

Speakers including her relatives and colleague Brent Hamlet, a Merrill Lynch broker and advisor, remembered the BofA executive who served as a managing director at Merrill for 22 years before being promoted in June to head of BofA’s global women’s and underrepresented talent strategy, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Avan “let her light shine,” Hamlet said, adding: “I walked on her coattails and I followed in her shadow. If I’ve got light it’s because Michelle shined that light upon me.”

“I don’t wish this on anybody but I just wish it wasn’t my mom,” said Trevon Avan, Michelle’s adult son. “She was too beautiful. She was too kind. She was too charismatic.” He also stressed that his mother led by example, saying: “If you say you’re going to help somebody, help them. If you say you’re going to give back to the community, give back to the community. If you say you’re going to volunteer, volunteer.”

And Nyah Avan, her adult daughter, said: “Her physical body isn’t here with us anymore and it just breaks my heart because she was my best friend.”

More Details

The cause of Avan’s death was unknown, but she “appeared to have suffered trauma to her face,” according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Avan’s son discovered her body and a member of her family contacted police and Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics. “Family members became concerned when they could not contact Avan,” police said.

West Valley Patrol officers arrived at Avan’s home and found Avan unresponsive, police said, adding that paramedics pronounced her dead.  

On Aug. 3, Turner allegedly entered Avan’s home, and he killed her before leaving Aug. 4, the district attorney said.

Turner had been with Merrill since 2004, and his registration with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority shifted to BofA Securities in 2019, according to his report on FINRA’s BrokerCheck.

Although Avan and Turner had been involved in a romantic relationship, she recently considered seeking a restraining order against him, NBC4′s I-Team reported, citing law enforcement sources.

(Pictured: Anthony Duwayne Turner)