Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Death At The Reservoir

The Ohio Supreme Court has imposed an interim suspension of a convicted attorney.

The attorney pled guilty to felony manslaughter with a firearm (first degree) and felony tampering with evidence (third degree).

The Columbus Dispatch reported on the charges

Walter C. Boyuk was under house arrest, awaiting trial in the shooting death of his wife last October at Griggs Reservoir Park, when he walked into a hair salon on March 18, looking for a witness in the case.

The witness, a hairstylist at the business on Columbus' Northwest Side, hid in a bathroom until Boyuk, a 77-year-old Hilliard-area attorney who is semi-retired, was convinced to leave.

MoreHusband charged with murder in shooting death of wife at Griggs Reservoir Park

Boyuk meant no harm, his attorney said Tuesday during a hearing in Franklin County Common Pleas Court.

His client had visited with a Catholic priest for confession that morning, then sought out the witness, a 60-year-old woman, "in a spirit of atonement," defense attorney Vicente Rivera told Judge Michael J. Holbrook.

"He didn't intend to intimidate or scare a witness, although that is probably what happened," Rivera said. "It's obviously a violation" of the terms of his bond. 

Holbrook said he had made it clear in January, when Boyuk posted a $500,000 bond and was released on house arrest, that he was to remain in his Norwich Township home and have no contact with any witnesses in his case.

The judge ruled Tuesday that Boyuk, who was re-arrested on the day that he went to the hairstyling business and violated bond, now will be held without bond as a "danger to society" until his case is resolved.

Boyuk is charged with aggravated murder and a gun specification in the death of his wife, 75-year-old Kathleen Boyuk. Her body was found slumped over the steering wheel of a white Honda Accord in the parking lot of Griggs Reservoir Park off Riverside Drive on the morning of October 22.

Police said she had been shot multiple times in the upper body. She was pronounced dead at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital.

Boyuk, who contacted Hilliard police to report that his wife was missing, was arrested later that day at the couple's home in the 3800 block of Ridgewood Drive in Norwich Township. The house is near Hilliard and about 1 1/2 miles from the park.

The witness came to the Franklin County courthouse for Tuesday's hearing, but was too frightened of Boyuk to enter the courtroom, Assistant Prosecutor Kara Keating told the judge.

"She is terrified that if he is released he will do the same thing or worse," Keating said.

It wasn't explained how the witness is connected to the case, but Boyuk appears to be infatuated with her.

The woman's attorney, Garth Cox, told the judge that the claim that Boyuk was seeking atonement by looking for her doesn't explain a phone call that Boyuk placed to the hair salon hours before his visit.

According to Cox, when the hairstylist witness answered the phone, Boyuk said to her, "Hello, beautiful. Have you forgotten about me?"

Boyuk then invited her to dinner at his home before she hung up on him, Cox said.

She is now "petrified" of a man that she once considered a friend, he said.

Much of the case against Boyuk, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges, is laid out in motions that prosecutors have filed with the court.

Columbus police recovered a gun from Boyuk's home, and spent 9mm shell casings fell from his pocket after he was taken into custody. Testing determined that the shell casings had been fired from the gun that police confiscated from the home, prosecutors wrote.

A cab driver told police that she picked up Boyuk across from Griggs Reservoir on the morning of the murder and dropped him off at his home.

Prosecutors also revealed that when Columbus police officers arrived at Boyuk's house to inform him of his wife's death, he offered them multiple stories about the whereabouts of her cellphone. The officers eventually observed Boyuk walk to the back of the house and slip his wife's cellphone in his back pocket.

Among the most curious of the prosecution's revelations: Boyuk informed multiple individuals of his wife's death, including posting about it on Facebook, before police arrived at his home to notify him.

Boyuk's trial is tentatively set for June 7, but the court has granted defense motions for psychological evaluations of their client in the meantime.

(Mike Frisch)

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