Press Release

Media Contact: Ben Laurro, Pure Publicity




Minneapolis, MN (July 10, 2014): John Turnipseed seemed destined to inherit a violent criminal life. As a child, he grew up on a rural Alabama farm in a loving, church-going family, but at age seven his father uprooted the family for a new job in Minneapolis. His father stopped attending church, became an alcoholic, had extramarital affairs, and started abusing his wife.

Feeling abandoned by his father, young Johnny turned to street thugs and drug dealers for mentors. By the age of eleven, the underworld of crime, drugs, booze, and prostitution had become his norm.

By the time he was 40 years old, John had robbed and burglarized countless homes and businesses. He was addicted to crack and cocaine, and survived suicide attempts, shootings, and stabbings.

John was long considered as one of the most notorious gang leaders in Minneapolis—a man who would harm anyone who threatened him or his extended gang family, the Bloods. He spent many years in the criminal system, including ten in prison. During this time, he never felt remorse.

BLOODLINE (BroadStreet Publishing, October 2014) written by John Turnipseed and co-authored with Cecil Murphey, is the compelling true story of John Turnipseed, whom a judge once referred to as a career criminal. Bloodline exposes the curse on four generations in the Turnipseed family, who seem ordained to a life of crime and violence. At last count, John Turnipseed had 30 family members serving time in prison – ten of them for first degree murder.

Readers will come to understand the torment of a young boy, who longed for his father’s love and found acceptance in the hardened life of a gang member. Despite repeated attempts to turn his life around for the sake of his children, he was often pulled back into his old routines. He eventually found redemption through faith and forgiveness.

“I wrote Bloodline to offer hope for those who came from despair. I never had a father who expressed love or acceptance and I felt worthless, until I turned my life over to God,” says John. “Despite all my years of criminal activity, failure, and sin, I am thankful for God’s forgiveness and restoration on my life.”

John shares emotional moments from his life, including the tragic death of his young son to a pimp, repeated probation and parole sentencings, the unconditional love from those who never gave up on him, and his painful decision to turn his gang member son into the police.

John’s life changed the day a reporter came to the school where John was a teacher, intent to expose his criminal past. Knowing that his livelihood was at risk and that he would again lose his family’s trust, John barricaded himself in his office where he cried out to God for forgiveness and a new start. After a spiritual awakening, he realized he had become like his own father—a man he hated—toward his six children.

John still has the respect of street gangs and criminals in Minneapolis, but he is now a licensed minister and role model who guides them to make better choices through education and career training. As the Vice President of Urban Ventures and Director of The Center for Fathering, John teaches men and women how to be more effective parents and have positive influences in the lives of their children.

The neighborhood John and his family once terrorized has become his ministry outreach. He hopes to break the cycle of crime and violence and to inspire the younger generation to turn their backs on a life of crime.

“I am no longer part of the criminal underworld, but by the grace of God, I still have influence. I know God can use anyone’s past for His will, just like He has used me as an example of transformation.” says John. “I am willing to help anyone, regardless if they come from gangs or have just gotten out of prison. My deepest longing is for my family. As long as God gives me breath, I will do what I can to remove the cursed influence of the Turnipseed bloodline.”

BLOODLINE is relevant to our current culture where violence and crime runs rampant within the younger generation. It offers hope for those who endured an estranged relationship with their family, or who seek the acceptance and love from their father.