Crime

Suspect pleads not guilty to Oct. 28 murder of Boise homeless man

The man accused of beating a homeless man to death last fall in Boise pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in 4th District Court Thursday.

Scotty Dale Turnbull, 24, is accused of "punching, hitting and stomping" Russell "Rusty" Bitton, 37, to death Oct. 28 near the 16th Street overpass in Downtown Boise.

If convicted of second-degree murder, Turnbull would face at least 10 years or as much as life in prison. His jury trial is scheduled for Nov. 9, with a status conference set for July 9.

In addition to the murder count, Turnbull is charged with one count each of felony and misdemeanor battery. The battery charges stem from attacks on a woman and a man the day before Bitton was killed.

Turnbull, who doesn't have a permanent address, has been in police custody since the day Bitton's body was found in October. Turnbull is being held in the Ada County Jail on $1 million bond.

Turnbull has an extensive criminal record in Ada, Canyon and Gem counties, with convictions for grand theft, petit theft, battery, drug possession, and fish and game and concealed weapons violations.

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