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Archive for Friday, March 2, 2001

Defendant takes stand, says he was protecting sister

March 2, 2001

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A Lawrence man took the stand in his own defense Thursday, claiming that although he carried a gun into an apartment where he later shot another man, he was only protecting his sister and didn't intend to kill the man.

Tony Turner, who is charged with attempted first-degree murder, told the jury he was carrying the gun because he told the gun's owner to give it to him and was worried what might happen.

"I didn't know what he was going to do with it," Turner said. "I didn't tell him to get the gun."

Turner, 24, is charged with trying to kill Royce Garner on July 16, about an hour after they both were at a North Lawrence nightspot and where Turner reportedly was assaulted by Garner's brother, Ronald Garner.

Turner testified in Douglas County District Court that after he and three other men left the club, they drove to the home of one of the men. There, the man Damon Edwards went inside and came back out with a handgun, Turner said.

When Edwards got back into the vehicle, Turner asked for the gun and was in possession of it when he went to see his sister, Carmen Turner, at her apartment. Royce Garner Carmen Turner's boyfriend arrived shortly thereafter. Turner told the jury that he had been in the bathroom with the gun and heard screaming when someone arrived. He came out to see what was going on when he saw Royce Garner armed with two knives standing near his sister, Turner testified.

"The first instinct I had was to get him away from her," Turner said. He told the jury that he then fired the handgun in an attempt to protect his sister from Garner, who he thought was attacking her.

But Asst. Dist. Atty. Jerry Little argued that Turner and the other men had been searching for Garner since the assault at the club. He questioned Turner's assertion that he didn't expect to find Garner at the apartment.

"Someone hits you out of the clear blue sky and you're not mad?" Little asked.

"I wasn't mad. I was confused," Turner said, admitting that he fired several times.

"But you didn't stop at four shots," Little said. "It was only after five shots that you realized you needed to get out of there."

The defense rested at about 4 p.m. The jury will begin deliberating at 9 a.m. today.

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