ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – A Kane County judge denied a defense motion to allow a third party expert to evaluate the mental fitness of a St. Charles man charged with trying to kill his wife with a gun.
Scott J. Turyna, 66, is charged with felony attempted first degree murder, discharging a firearm in the direction of another person and preventing the victim from reporting domestic violence in an incident that occurred May 3, 2016.
Turyna’s trial was scheduled to begin Oct. 10, but Kane County Judge D.J. Tegeler agreed not to start the trial until Turyna is evaluated for his mental fitness.
In court papers filed last week, Turyna attorney Alison Motta stated that her client has short-term memory loss and cannot participate in his own defense.
“In order to stand trial, a defendant must be able to assist in his own defense,” Motta’s court filing stated. “The defendant suffers from short-term memory loss and has no knowledge or recollection of the events leading up to the shooting … [or] of how the victim sustained her physical injuries.”
Motta and Tegeler argued over which side had the burden to have Turyna’s mental fitness examined.
“I decided … not to force this gentleman to trial today and issue orders to determine whether there is a bona fide doubt [that Turyna is fit for trial]. If they come back and say, ‘No, we don’t think there is a doubt; we think he is malingering,’ I can order you to trial. You have no burden at this point," Tegeler said. "This is on the court.”
Motta said her client wants his own expert, but – in denying the request – Tegeler said the statute says the court chooses the expert.
Tegeler set Oct. 23 for the court to have the report by the Kane County Diagnostic Center on Turyna’s fitness to stand trial.
The incident between Turyna and his wife unfolded during an argument about finances, when he allegedly threatened to kill her, court records show.
Steve Spurling, then St. Charles School District 303 Board president, and his wife, Diane, were walking their dog when they saw Turyna’s wife come out of her house in the 400 block of Hunt Club Drive with her face all beaten up and bloody, according to police reports.
Turyna came outside and told them she just fell, but the Spurlings separated the couple and the victim began walking away with Diane Spurling, according to police and court records.
Steve Spurling said he reached down to get his phone to call 911 for medical assistance when "all of a sudden I heard a gunshot,” he said. Turyna had walked after the women and fired a revolver in their direction, police reported.
Steve Spurling said he then did what anyone would have done: He tackled Turyna, got the gun out of his reach and held him until police arrived.
“He prevented that situation from becoming a lot worse,” St. Charles Deputy Police Chief David Kintz stated in an email.
Steve and Diane Spurling received a Citizen Recognition Award from the city of St. Charles and the St. Charles Police Department last year for their actions during the shooting incident with Turyna.
Turyna is out on $1 million bail, after posting 10 percent or $100,000 bond.