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Jury convicts St. Charles man of 3 felonies

Scott J. Turyna
Convicted of aggravated discharge of a firearm, aggravated domestic battery and reckless discharge of a firearm
Scott J. Turyna Convicted of aggravated discharge of a firearm, aggravated domestic battery and reckless discharge of a firearm

ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – A Kane County jury convicted a St. Charles man Feb. 2 of aggravated discharge of a firearm, aggravated domestic battery and reckless discharge of a firearm, all felonies.

The jury of eight women and four men deliberated for 3 1/2 hours after a four-day trial to convict Scott J. Turyna, 67, stemming from an incident that occurred May 3, 2016, at Turyna's former home on the 400 block of Hunt Club Drive, St. Charles.

Turyna had beaten his wife and followed her outside where he fired a handgun five times, according to testimony.

The jury did not convict Turyna of the more serious charge of attempted first-degree murder, a Class X felony that would have been punishable by six to 30 years in prison.

Kane County Judge D.J. Tegeler revoked Turyna’s bond, stating he had just been convicted of a Class 1 felony, which is punishable by four to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. The other two felonies are punishable by one to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

Turyna’s former wife, 57, testified to the extent of her injuries, which included a broken nose, a broken right shoulder, a broken left ring finger and a concussion that left her unable to drive for two months.

She had escaped her husband and crawled out under a rising garage door to the astonishment of neighbors Steven and Diane Spurling, who were out walking their dog, according to court testimony.

Turyna followed and began shooting, resulting in Steven Spurling tackling him and holding him until police arrived, according to court testimony.

Turyna was found guilty of reckless discharge of firearm with regard to Diane Spurling, and the more serious charge of aggravated discharge of a firearm with regard to his ex-wife, the clerk stated, according to the jury’s findings.

The point of contention at trial was whether Turyna, who was never violent against his wife in their 26 years together, actually was trying to kill her.

In closing arguments, defense attorney Robert Motta said, “If he wanted to kill her, he would have killed her in the house,” and that he did not try to kill her when he fired the .38 caliber handgun five times.

Motta said Turyna’s former wife’s injuries were not all caused by his client hitting her, but rather that she banged into the garage door as it was rising and that she fell on her face on the sidewalk at the end of their driveway.

Motta said he would not defend what his client did to his wife when he beat her.

“Those pictures [of her bruises] I would not inflict that on my worst enemy,” Motta said. “But how much [of that] was at the hands of my client?”

In closing arguments, Assistant Kane County State’s Attorney Greg Sams said that Turyna convicted himself with what he said to a St. Charles police officer that night: “I did what I did because she got out of line.”

“That’s code for ‘she had it coming,’ ” Sams said. “What this defendant said to [an officer] in the booking room [was] ‘I hit her and I tried to shoot her. I guess it’s going to be a felony.’ ”

While Motta and Sams spoke during closing arguments, Turyna cried and dabbed tears from his eyes with tissues.

Earlier that day, Turyna took the stand, wearing a gray suit, white shirt and gray and red striped tie and dress shoes instead of the orange garb jail detainees usually wear.

Turyna testified that the couple had financial tensions because he had just retired and now needed to live within a budget.

“She was used to having all the money in the world to spend,” Turyna testified.

His former wife’s father would reimburse them for money they spent for rebuilding his beach house on the East Coast that was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, Turyna testified, but that he often paid late or his checks bounced, Turyna testified.

But Turyna testified that he thought they had straightened things out and then later the couple had dinner.

After dinner, when they were in the kitchen cleaning up, Turyna said his former wife started berating him about money and was poking him in the chest and antagonizing him about finances and her father’s money problems.

Turyna testified that he “took her and put her on the floor.”

“I hit her,” Turyna testified. “I couldn’t believe what happened. You have no idea how bad I felt.”

While his former wife had testified that it was Turyna who went for the gun cabinet prompting her to escape, Turyna testified that it was his ex-wife who was going for the gun cabinet.

“I put the gun in my pocket so she couldn’t get it,” Turyna said.

Turyna testified that he did not intend to try to kill his wife with the gun, but that he fired it to scare her once they were outside.

“I could have choked her in the house,” Turyna testified.

While Turyna insisted that he fired up into the air, other witnesses testified that he aimed at his wife who was running away from him.

“I was [expletive] she was walking away,” Turyna testified. “I fired up in the air. … I was just trying to scare her.”

Tegeler set March 23 for sentencing.

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