TAMPA, Fla. - Melissa Turner smiled Monday in court. The adult costume model had a big victory.
Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Christopher Nash decided taxpayers will pay for her defense.
"I don't think she is able to pay the fee to a private attorney. The court finds that she qualifies for the services of the public defender for the purposes of this case," ruled Nash.
Judge Nash asked her, "You have take-home income of between $1,500 and $2,000 a week. Is that correct?"
"Yes," Turner replied.
Turner is accused of killing her live-in boyfriend and trying to cover it up. At first, she told detectives she came home and found his lifeless body, but later she claimed it was an accident.
According to investigators, Turner said she and boyfriend, Matthew Trussler, were in a heated argument and wrestled over a knife.
However, prosecutors say a neighbor’s surveillance camera captured some of the fight, including the alleged voice of Turner as she tells Trussler to "die."
Monday afternoon, Turner pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder charges. Her newly-appointed Hillsborough County Public Defender Elizabeth Beardsley put it on the record.