There continues to be a national debate over how to handle “deadbeat dads” with some questioning whether jail time is useful as a punishment for non-payment since it often makes it harder for the fathers to hold jobs. Others say that deadbeat dads are often do not take civil penalties seriously and that only jail will motivate compliance to shoulder their responsibilities. There may be no greater case study to support criminal sanctions than Terry Turnage, who has fathered 26 children by 15-20 different women, though the precise number seems difficult to confirm. He has reportedly failed to pay virtually any support to any of the women while driving expensive cars and throwing lavish parties.
Turnage supposedly works at a McDonald’s and earns $247.28 weekly. However, he is reportedly also a co-owner with one of his sons, Terry Jr., of an Arkansas nightclub called Club Envy. He lists the club as his residence address on some papers and recently threw a two-day party for his birthday. One article says that he threw a champagne party for 700 people.
What is interesting is that women have said that they had no idea that Turnage was “famous” until they spoke with child support officials, who would probably call him “infamous.” He reportedly goes by the nickname TYB, which reportedly stands for “Take Your B*****.” One girlfriend spent almost eight years with Turnage but said that she had no idea and that her “knees buckled” when a prosecutor at family court told her that the father of her child had 20 other children two years ago.
What is particularly bizarre is that two of the women seeking child support went to the huge birthday bash for Turnage who boasted spending hundreds of dollars on champagne and other drinks. Miesha Davis was asked why she would go to such a party with the deadbeat dad she reportedly said “To have fun. Just to have a good time.”
Notably, the best chance to put Turnage in jail may have nothing to do with child support. He is facing a felony charge of making terroristic threats against a Forrest City businessman who sold him a 2005 Corvette that he said did not run. He notably gave the man $10,000 in cash while avoiding child support to two dozen women.
The case suggests that huge differences remain in the level of enforcement of child support among the states. Turnage does not appear hard to find. He is throwing lavish parties as a club that he reportedly owns and uses as a residence.