Archive for Saturday, March 3, 2001

Jurors see attempted murder in shooting

March 3, 2001

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A Lawrence man accused of attempting to kill his sister's boyfriend last July after a fight at a nightclub was convicted Friday by a 12-member Douglas County jury.

Tony Turner was led away from the courtroom in handcuffs moments after the verdict was read. He was found guilty on one count each of attempted second-degree murder and aggravated battery.

"I think it was a fair and reasonable outcome," said Jerry Little, assistant Douglas County district attorney. "I thought the jury came to a reasonable conclusion, a reasonable decision, given the facts."

Turner was convicted of attempting to kill Royce Garner after a fight July 16 at a North Lawrence nightclub. According to testimony Wednesday and Thursday, Turner was assaulted by Garner's brother outside the club. Turner and friends then drove away, but about an hour later they arrived at the apartment of Turner's sister who also was Garner's girlfriend.

Garner arrived at the apartment a short time later, and Turner shot him four times.

Turner faced an attempted first-degree murder charge, but the jury was given the option of choosing attempted first- or second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter. Jurors chose attempted second-degree murder.

Jurors deliberated for about six hours and issued their verdict shortly after 5 p.m. At 2 p.m., they asked to have testimony concerning the moments surrounding the shooting, which also injured Turner's sister, read back to them.

Turner's attorney, Charles Branson, argued throughout the trial that Turner didn't intend to kill Garner and shot him only after he saw Garner holding two kitchen knives, pointing them toward Turner's sister.

"Evidently, the jury didn't understand the defense here," Branson said. "The defense of his sister."

District Judge Robert Fairchild ordered Turner jailed until his sentencing, which was scheduled for April 3.

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