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Assistant public defender dies at Dawson County courthouse
David Turk dies at 63
FB DCN Government County

Originally published Sept. 17, 2018, 9:23 a.m.

David Turk, assistant public defender for the Northeastern Judicial Circuit, died at the Dawson County government center last week.

Stephen Gurr, senior investigator at the Hall County Public Defender office, said Monday that Turk, 63, died from a massive heart attack shortly before noon Sept. 14 in a courthouse elevator.

"He was truly one of a kind," said Brad Morris, the public defender for the Northeastern Circuit, who knew Turk for 30 years. "Very bright, caring, with a loving heart. Anyone who was around David for a significant period grew to relish these qualities. David's essence was deep."

Local attorney Joey Homans also knew Turk for 30 years, originally meeting when they both worked in the District Attorney’s office in the late 1980s.

“David’s direct style, dry wit and professionalism made him unique,” Homans said. “We will miss him.”

According to Gurr, Turk, a native of Gray, graduated from Mercer Law School and was an assistant district attorney under then-District Attorney Andrew Fuller.

He then went to work for a statewide drug prosecution unit.

In 1992, Turk was appointed by Gov. Zell Miller to serve as the first district attorney for the Enotah Judicial Circuit, which encompasses White, Lumpkin, Towns and Union Counties. He served in that position until 1994, Gurr said.

Turked worked as a private practice attorney in Northeast Georgia throughout the 1990s and early 2000s with the law office now known as Kimmey and Murphy.

He worked with Lansing Kimmey and Craig Murphy until he was appointed as the first full-time juvenile court judge for the Enotah Circuit, a position he held for six years.

“I thoroughly enjoyed practicing law alongside him, I tried a few cases with him and learned quite a lot,” Murphy said Tuesday. “On behalf of our firm we are deeply saddened by the loss, he was a great lawyer and a great friend.”

Turk returned to private practice in 2010, before going to work as an assistant public defender in Dawson County in 2016. He served in that role until his death.

According to his obituary, Turk earned his undergraduate degree at Young Harris and was valedictorian of Jones County High School. He was active in Rotary and the Masons, and was a dog lover and supported the Humane Society.

Born Cicero David Turk III, he is survived by his wife Evi, daughters Julie and Chrissy, mother Ruby, two siblings and three grandchildren.

Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Sept. 18 at Clinton United Methodist Church in Gray. A memorial in northeast Georgia is planned for a later date.