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Obese Drug Dealer Goes To Court in U-Haul

Obese Drug Dealer Goes To Court in U-Haul

An obese drug dealer taken to court in a U-haul truck…

An obese man accused on 24 counts of the sale and possession of prescription painkillers was taken to court in the back of a U-Haul truck becasue of his overlarge size.

Stephen A. Turo, 56, who by his own estimates weighs around 700 pounds, was accompanied to the arraignment by his wife and daughter. He sucked oxygen from two plastic tubes fed by a portable machine during the proceeding.

Because the court house could not accommodate the 10 foot truck, the hearing took place in the loading dock at the rear of the Historic Post Office in Auburn.

If found guilty on just one of the felony charges, Turo could be sent to state prison for 25 years, there he would become the heaviest inmate ever housed by the state Department of Correctional Services, spokesman Erik Kriss said.

stephen turo in u haul Obese Drug Dealer Goes To Court in U Haul

Turo pleaded innocent to all charges. Cayuga County Judge Thomas G. Leone, set bail at $1,000 cash or $2,000 bond, even though Chief Assistant District Attorney Christopher T. Valdina said Turo posed no risk of flight.

After the arraignment Turo remained in the truck to be fingerprinted and have his “mug” shot taken by a sheriff’s investigator. The whole process, including the time Turo spent in the make shift court, took less than 90 minutes.

Turo’s wife, Claudette, has also been arraigned on a 17-count indictment, for the alleged sale and possession of prescription painkillers.

The journey to Auburn was the first time Turo had been out of his home in several years. He is unlikely to appear back in court until his case is settled.

He waived his right to attend future court sessions, to argue motions on April 16 or to bargain with the District Attorney’s Office, instead his attorney, Douglas Bates, will handle the plea negotiations. He said:

“I don’t know what outcome our office will ultimately approve of, but gross obesity in and of itself is no defense,”

Kriss said:

“If Turo is convicted and is sent to state prison, the prison system will accommodate him…
“No one on our medical staff can recall an inmate that heavy being in our custody…

“But they did say whatever size inmate we get and however heavy, we will make sure they will have the right bed and all the rest of that stuff so that they can have their needs met.”

The prison system has four medical facilities across the state, Kriss said, and Turo could end up in one of those facilities.

Cayuga County Sheriff David S. Gould said his corrections staff will make whatever adjustments are necessary to house Turo.

“We would do whatever we had to do,” the sheriff said. “We could do it. … It would be something different, but we could do it if we had to.”


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