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updated: 2/17/2018 6:00 PM

After mixed verdict, survivor of St. Charles shooting still lives in fear

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  • Scott J. Turyna was found not guilty of attempted murder of his now ex-wife in May 2016 and faces up to 15 years in prison when sentenced March 23.

    Scott J. Turyna was found not guilty of attempted murder of his now ex-wife in May 2016 and faces up to 15 years in prison when sentenced March 23.

  • Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon said he doesn't believe probation would be an appropriate sentence for Scott J. Turyna, hinting his office could argue for consecutive sentences.

    Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon said he doesn't believe probation would be an appropriate sentence for Scott J. Turyna, hinting his office could argue for consecutive sentences.
    Daily Herald File Photo

 
 

It's been more than two weeks and the shock and disappointment are beginning to fade for the ex-wife of Scott J. Turyna, who was found not guilty of attempted murder even though he fired a gun five times at her in May 2016.

The fear, however, remains very real for the woman.

"It's hard to explain the fear you have when someone you've trusted does that to you, feeling like you have no place to go," said the 57-year-old woman in an interview with the Daily Herald.

"My whole entire life has been destroyed -- mentally, physically, financially. I've lost my family as I know it. Every aspect of my life has been affected and I've got to try and piece it back together."

Turyna, 66, is being held without bail at the Kane County jail after a jury convicted him of felony aggravated domestic battery and aggravated discharge of a firearm earlier this month.

On March 23 he faces a punishment ranging from probation to 15 years in prison for emptying his snub-nosed .38-caliber revolver in an east side neighborhood in St. Charles.

Had the jury found Turyna guilty of attempted murder and firing the gun in the process, he would be facing a prison term of 26 to 50 years.

The prospect of Turyna serving his sentence, getting out and then trying to find her again is a constant worry.

"The last two years I've lived in fear. I've been basically hiding and I have that to look forward to again. It frightens me. He wanted me dead and I don't think much has changed. Spending time in prison is not going to make him want to kill me less," she said. "To me, the testimony was clear, the case was very clear and it was presented clearly. I don't understand (the verdict) and I never will."

What happened?

During the weeklong trial, prosecutors argued that after the couple ate dinner in their home on the 400 block of Hunt Club Drive, an intoxicated Turyna savagely beat the woman and told her that was the day her life would end.

When Turyna went to grab a gun from a kitchen cabinet, his wife -- bruised, bloodied and concussed -- ran out of the garage and fell at the end of her driveway right in front of two neighbors, Steve and Diane Spurling, who were walking their dog.

Turyna emerged from the garage and tried to get his wife to return. But she said to the Spurlings that Turyna had a gun and was trying to kill her. Turyna then fired the weapon in the direction of his wife and Diane Spurling, who were walking away.

Steve Spurling testified that he was behind Scott Turyna and getting ready to unlock his smartphone to call 911 when he heard the first shot.

Spurling looked up, saw Turyna taking aim again and chopped down on his right arm, dislodging the gun and detaining him until police arrived.

Five shots were fired and no one was hit. One slug lodged in a house down the street.

Turyna's defense attorneys argued that the woman made her injuries worse by banging her head on the garage door as she tried to escape and falling at the end of the driveway in front of the Spurlings. Defense attorneys said Turyna was a skilled marksman and he was not trying to shoot his wife, just scare her.

"It happened fast. My goal was to stay alive. I was terrified he was going to shoot me in the garage," she recalled. "I believe with all my heart if the Spurlings weren't there, I would be dead. Neighbors intervened, thank God. It wasn't because (Scott) didn't want to (kill me)."

What's next?

State's Attorney Joe McMahon said his office filed appropriate charges in the case and he will work with his prosecutors on strategies to better demonstrate a defendant's intent when possible.

"I know they were thoughtful in their deliberations," McMahon said. "Sometimes juries make a decision we have to accept and respect, and we do, but they just don't go the way we thought."

Physically, most of the woman's injuries have healed. She suffered a broken nose, broken finger, concussion, broken shoulder, a brain bleed and bruising on her head and face. Her doctor said she will eventually need a shoulder replacement.

The woman said Turyna used marital assets to pay for his defense team and to post $100,000 bond. The couple was married 27 years. Although college-educated, she spent 21 years at home raising their children and is finding it difficult to re-enter the workforce.

Through the ordeal, Turyna's grown sons from a previous marriage cut off contact with her. She found out through a neighbor that one of the sons became a father.

In the months leading up to the trial, Kane County cut its program to have defendants in violent crimes monitored via GPS if they post bond.

And the county also lost out on a grant to fund advocates in its Victims' Rights Unit, so people who provided in-court support for the woman and helped her file for an extended order of protection were not there when needed most.

The woman says the county is failing all victims by ending the GPS program.

"It wasn't a perfect system but it was put into place to protect people specifically like me," she said, adding that former victim advocate Judy Bland was invaluable because she had knowledge of the judicial process. "It's a shame. I understand our legal process, but there has to be protection for people who have already been victimized."

She said she hopes Judge D.J. Tegeler will sentence Turyna to the maximum 15 years for the weapons charge. Turyna will have to serve at least 85 percent of the sentence he is given.

"He tried to kill me. He beat me up and he went to get a gun and by luck he wasn't successful," the woman said.

McMahon hinted that his office would argue Turyna is eligible for consecutive terms instead of just being punished for the most severe offense, as is often done. If granted, this move would increase the maximum punishment to 22 years in prison.

"We'll have a position that we'll make abundantly clear when we are in court," McMahon said.

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