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August 6, 2021

Bountiful man solicited co-worker to help kill 5 people, charges say

A Bountiful man was charged Wednesday with five felonies accusing him of soliciting help from a co-worker to kill five people by putting explosives in their vehicles. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A Bountiful man was charged Wednesday with soliciting help from a co-worker to kill five people by putting explosives in their vehicles.

Robert Jack Turville, 62, is charged in 3rd District Court with five counts of criminal solicitation, a first-degree felony, and two counts of contacting a victim while in custody, a class B misdemeanor.

The investigation began June 4 when Unified police were called to Sportsman’s Warehouse, 165 W. 7200 South, on a report that a recently terminated employee had asked a co-worker to help him kill five people.

The co-worker told detectives that Turville had been talking about his “messy divorce” and made comments that when “pushed too far” he “wouldn’t stand for disrespect,” according to charging documents.

Police say Turville then purchased two 20-round boxes of long-range ammunition. Later, Turville talked to the co-worker again in the break room “and started to discuss justifiable reasons to kill people,” the charges state.

“Turville said that he would be able and willing to kill by any means necessary, and specifically mentioned a binary explosive called Tannerite and its destructive capabilities,” according to the charges.

He then leaned in close to the other employee and asked, “If I were to kill five different people in five different places with Tannerite in the headrest of their cars, how would I do that and can you help?” the charges say.

Turville allegedly told the co-worker he wanted to shoot the Tannerite from a distance to ignite it and use enough explosives to “ensure death as well as incinerate the vehicle.”

The comments alarmed the co-worker who then began recording his conversation with Turville, who again stated he was “100% committed to taking a life,” according to the charging documents.

According to prosecutors, Turville was targeting family members, his estranged wife’s divorce attorney, and members of his church before planning to kill himself.

After receiving the information, a search warrant was obtained for Turville’s home where a rifle, several handguns, “armor-piercing bullets” and 2.5 pounds of “a binary explosive brand called Sonic Boom” were seized, investigators wrote in the charges.

Police found Turville at a family member’s home in Millcreek and arrested him. When asked if there were any explosives in the home that would harm officers serving the warrant, he stated there was a bottle the size of a mason jar with “a yellow powder inside” that would not harm anyone unless it was shot, the charges state. A total of 2.5 pounds of Tannerite was later recovered.

When Turville was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail, he was served with a protective order against his intended victims and told not to contact them. However, Turville called his estranged wife and another relative, claiming they were the only phone numbers he knew, the court documents say.

Prosecutors have requested Turville be held in jail without bail.

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