Sam Penrod reportingA former BYU student pleaded guilty today to trying to kill his wife by poisoning her, in an attempt to conceal his addiction to pornography. The guilty plea was made as part of a plea deal that will spare Paul Turner the possibility of life in prison. Both prosecutors and defense attorneys are calling today's guilty pleas to reduced charges a win-win situation for both sides by getting conviction, but taking away the risk that Paul Turner would spend life in prison.
Turner admitted in court today to attempted criminal homicide by making two attempts to kill his wife Sarah and her unborn child between July and November of 2001.
One attempt involved putting rat poison in food Turner prepared for his wife. In the other, he replaced her medication with fish tank cleaner, which contained hydrochloric acid.
Turner's wife previously testified she was unware her husband was trying to kill her and was not injured in the attempts.
Turner confessed to police last Fall and investigators say it was a desperate attempt to hide a pornography addiction from his wife.
Tom Means/Defense Attorney: "THIS CASE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN CHARGED HAD PAUL NOT COME FORWARD TO HIS BISHOP AND ULTIMATELY THE POLICE AND ADMIT TO HIS CONDUCT AND CULPABILITY. HE'S SORRY, HE'S REMORSEFUL AND SURPRISINGLY HAS NO ANIMOSITY TOWARDS HIS WIFE. THIS IS A STRANGE SITUATION AND I DON'T THINK HE'S A DANGEROUS MAN."
Turner had been charged with attempted aggravated murder and could have faced life in prison. Under today's agreement, Turner will face one to fifteen years in prison. He will be sentenced this summer, after undergoing mental evaluations.
Turner's wife recently filed for divorce and sole custody of the couple's only child.