Lyle boy's delinquency upheld in teacher death

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Wednesday, February 1, 1984
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Lyle boy's delinquency upheld in teacher death

A three-judge district court panel has upheld a lower court finding that a Lyle, Minn., youth was delinquent in the murder of former schoolteacher Sharon Turnbull.

The youth, who was 14 at the time, was found delinquent last February by Olmsted County Judge Harold Krueger after a two-week closed hearing. A finding of delinquency is the juvenile court version of guilty.

The youth was accused of shooting Turnbull, 31, through the front screen door of her home as she sat in her living room watching television early on Aug. 6, 1982. The shot struck Turnbull in the side of the head.

Krieger's decision was appealed by Minneapolis attorney Bruce Hanley on the grounds that Krieger had improperly admitted two taped confessions from separate youths as evidence. Krieger, who ruled without a jury, said the confession of the youth charged with the crime was the critical piece of evidence against him.

Hanley contended the confessions had been coerced and were thus inadmissible. He also challenged the admissibility of a shell casing that a sheriff's deputy found in Turnbull's flower garden.

Rice County District Court Judge Urban J. Steimann, chief of the three-judge panel, would say only, "We affirmed the decision of the lower court, and the lower court admitted the confession and ballistics testimony." Because the case was a juvenile matter, he said, he would not comment further.

Steimann, who will retire Feb. 24, said the decision was difficult but unanimous. Judge James L. Mork of Albert Lea and Judge William J. Nierengarten of Austin joined him on the panel.

Hanley had no comment on the District Court judges' decision Tuesday because he had not received a copy. He did say he would discuss a possible appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court with the youth's parents.

The appeal went to a district judge panel instead of the new appellate court because it was filed before Aug. 1.

Krieger turned the youth over to the Minnesota Department of Corrections without specific sentence to a particular rehabilitation or detention program. He can be held until he is 19.