âGonzalez tried to âhitâ me,â says Mark Turner, Gulf Breeze resident and former used car dealer.
Thatâs how our conversation began. I had contacted Turner after someone had sent me a tip about his December 2007 home break-in and his website.
We had a copy of the incident report filed by Santa Rosa County Deputy Stephen Clark. The person described as the suspect didnât fit that of Patrick Gonzalez, Jr. or anyone associated with the caseÂâother than the unknown trespasser was a white male. So I was curious how this had anything to do with the Billings case.
âThe description in the is not what I told the deputy,â says Turner. âIt wasnât until a few weeks ago that I even saw a copy of the report. I told the deputy the suspect was clean-cut and moved like he was in the military. The officer wrote âwell-groomed.ââ
When asked about the burglarâs height âwhich is listed at six feet in the reportÂ, Turner admits everything happened so fast that he was only guessing about the height. Gonzalez is listed at 5â6â in his arrest report for the Billingsâ murders.
âWhen they showed on television the mug shot of Patrick Gonzalez, I knew that was who tried to break into our house while we were in it,â says Turner. âI saw his face as he drove away. Iâm convinced that he was there to kill me.â
The attempted burglary and possible hit happened late the evening of Dec. 16, 2007. Turner was lying on the bed in his bedroom. He had fallen asleep with the window open, watching television with one of his children.
His wife was awake in another part of house and heard the garage door open. She went outside to see if her son was home. She noticed a plastic chair inside the garage had been moved and when she checked her car, it was unlocked. She always locked her car.
She went back into the house to wake her husband, who grabbed a bottle off his wet bar and headed towards his interior door that opened into the garage.
As he grabbed the door knob, he felt it turning. Turner pulled the door open and shocked the intruder, who yelled âWrong houseâ and bolted out of the garage towards a Blue Ford Explorer.
âHe was out of the garage in two steps,â says Turner. âMy adrenalin was pumping and I chased after him.â
Turner grabbed the door handle on the driverâs side of the Explorer, but wasnât able to open it. He smashed the bottle on the window trying to break the glass. The Explorer sped off.
âI am now certain that was Patrick Gonzalez,â says Turner. âHe did have something in his hand as he was running from the garage. My wife thinks it was a small black box.â
Turner is involved with a large civil case and is appealing a conviction on money laundering. He believes that the break-in is tied to those cases.