A San Luis Obispo man who allegedly fired eight .45-caliber rounds into his father’s Los Osos home while his father slept told an investigator later that he “felt like killing somebody,” a sheriff’s detective testified Wednesday.
But the father told investigators that he had recently kicked his son out of his home and he didn’t believe his son — who has a history of mental illness — meant to hurt him, according to testimony in the son’s preliminary hearing in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.
Turner Lee Newman, 23, is facing felony charges of attempted murder, assault with a firearm, shooting at an inhabited dwelling and being a felon in possession of a firearm for the July 28 incident.
On Wednesday, Deputy Michael Duanes testified that he was dispatched to the 1600 block of 14th Street in Los Osos in the early morning after reports of multiple gunshots. When he arrived, he saw bullet holes and shattered glass in the window of a single-story house.
Duanes said he interviewed the resident of the house, identified in court as John Newman, who said he was awoken by the gunshots. Further inspection revealed eight bullet holes in the plasterboard on the walls inside the home, Duanes testified.
The elder Newman reportedly told the officer that he had no idea who would shoot into the home but that his son, Turner, had moved out about a month before and the two were not on speaking terms.
Turner Newman was identified as a suspect and stopped by Atascadero police in his truck a short time after, according to testimony by Deputy Nathan Paul. Paul said inside Newman’s truck, he found a .45-caliber Springfield XD handgun with gunshot residue on it, as well as a Ziplock bag carrying 18 live rounds. Gunshot residue was also found on Newman’s truck door and steering wheel, he said.
Sheriff’s Detective Patrick Zuchelli testified that when he interviewed Newman, Newman appeared calm but “a little spacial” during their roughly 10-minute interview.
Deputy District Attorney Chase Martin asked Zuchelli whether Newman said he knew why he was being interviewed.
“He said, ‘Yes, because I shot at my dad’s house,’ ” Zuchelli said, adding that Newman said he walked up to the home, pulled out his gun and shot multiple times into the window. Zuchelli testified that when he asked Newman why, Newman replied: “Because I felt like killing somebody.”
After about 10 minutes, Newman stopped answering questions and asked for a lawyer, the detective said.
During cross-examination, Newman’s attorney, Ilan Funke-Bilu, asked Zuchelli to recall his interview with Newman’s father after the shooting.
“It’s true (the father) told you he didn’t think Turner Newman meant to shoot him, yes?” Funke-Bilu asked.
“Yes,” Zuchelli replied.
He’s a good kid, except that he’s gotten real sick, especially in the last couple of years.
Ilan Funke-Bilu, Newman’s attorney, said in July 2015
At a previous hearing in late July, Funke-Bilu said his client was a veteran of the Army Special Forces and has sunk into mental illness following a two-year stint in prison.
“He’s a good kid, except that he’s gotten real sick, especially in the last couple of years,” Funke-Bilu said at the time. “He’s gone downhill — drastically.”
In 2013, Newman was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison after employees at a Heritage Oaks Bank in San Luis Obispo saw him sitting dazed in his car in the bank’s parking lot, which was across the street from Pacific Beach continuation high school, where his mother worked.
When police arrived, they found loaded guns, ammunition, a machete and restraints in his car. Investigators later found he had done Google searches on drugging, kidnapping and raping women. He also had researched hiding corpses and the weapons used in the Newtown, Conn., school massacre.
He was released from prison in less than five years on mandatory supervision.
Following Wednesday’s testimony, Judge Jacquelyn Duffy ruled there was probable cause to proceed in the case and scheduled a second arraignment for March 23.