PROVO — Sarah Turner trusted her husband with her life. Little did she know Paul Turner wanted to see her dead.

A shocked Sarah Turner learned in October that her husband, a Brigham Young University student and employee at the LDS Church's Missionary Training Center, tried repeatedly to poison her and their unborn child.

Sarah Turner's life was turned upside down the day police informed her that Paul Turner harbored a dark secret — an addiction to Internet pornography that drove him to try to kill her rather than face her scorn.

On Thursday, 4th District Court Judge Anthony Schofield sentenced Paul Turner, charged with four felony counts of attempted aggravated murder, to serve up to 15 years in prison.

Prosecutors called Paul Turner an "enigma."

On the outside, he appeared to be a a churchgoing student who worked hard to support his young family.

Yet, Paul Turner tried to hide his porn-viewing habit from his family, friends and church leaders.

Utah County prosecutors said Paul Turner's MTC boss once confronted him with evidence Turner downloaded pornography at work. Turner denied responsibility.

"He is an enigma to me," said Deputy Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman. "He is different and unusual from all the other defendants that we usually deal with. There's no rational explanation for his actions."

Paul Turner's story unraveled in October.

Paul Turner, feeling guilt over the attempts to kill his wife, approached his Mormon bishop and confessed.

Police say the ecclesiastical leader encouraged Paul Turner to turn himself in to police. He followed the advice.

Paul Turner told police he tried to kill his wife by making cookies and a sandwich, each laced with rat poison.

When that didn't work, he switched the injection medication she was taking for her pregnancy with fish-tank cleaner. He also made spaghetti sauce using what he believed were poisonous mushrooms.

Police also say Turner visited Web sites that told Internet visitors how to hire a hit man.

"I believe that he was fully aware of what he was doing. He tried to kill me and my child," Sarah Turner said during a hearing Wednesday in Provo.

As she spoke, her ex-husband began to cry.

Psychological reports indicate that Turner is "impulsive" and "dangerously addicted to pornography," Buhman said.

But exams show Turner shows no sign of mental illness.

Tom Means, a public-defense attorney assigned to represent Paul Turner, begged the judge for leniency.

Means reminded the judge that Turner confessed to a crime police never would have uncovered.

In addition, he said, Paul Turner had no past criminal history.

Turner's father, Kay Turner, also urged the court to help his son get the help he needs to join society again.

"Tragedy has been the result of this occurrence," Schofield said, referring to all parties involved in the Turner case. "Truly these folks have suffered tragedy."

Schofield, who ultimately deemed Paul Turner a threat to society, gave Paul Turner 257 days credit for the time he's already spent in jail.

Schofield said he will recommend to Utah's State Board of Pardons that Paul Turner be provided therapy and given credit for turning himself in to police.

Outside court, Sarah Turner and family members declined additional comment.

Sarah Turner, who publicly forgave her ex-husband during Wednesday's hearing, filed for divorce in April.

During a divorce hearing, Paul Turner surrendered parental rights to his daughter.


E-mail: gfattah@desnews.com