Calling Kurtulus Kalican the “prototype for a woman abuser,” Judge Kevin P. McMahon sentenced the 53-year-old former New London man to 64 years in prison Wednesday for the shooting death of David Romero and the attempted murder of Kalican's ex-wife on Sept. 22, 2003.
“He is the epitome of the manipulative, controlling, abusive spouses that we see in our courts every day,” the judge said.
Kalican's abusive traits led to the death of Romero, a “hardworking immigrant” from Laceiba, Honduras, who was “trying to live the American dream,” and to the near-fatal wounding of Kalican's ex-wife, Ayfer Kaya, the judge said. McMahon said he realized the 64-year sentence probably means Kalican will spend the rest of his life in prison, but that it was appropriate.
Among several people interviewed about Kalican prior to the sentencing, including Kaya and Kalican's first wife, “It's a consensus that he will never leave her (Kaya) alone if he goes back on the streets,” McMahon said.
Jealous of his ex-wife's budding relationship with Romero, Kalican drove in the early-morning hours of Sept. 22, 2003, from his apartment in New Jersey to the Blackhall Street home in New London where he, Kaya and their three children had lived before the couple divorced earlier that year.
Kalican retrieved a .357 magnum that he had stored in the basement, sneaked into the bedroom where Romero and Kaya slept, and shot Romero in the groin and chest, according to court testimony. He shot his ex-wife twice before running out of ammunition, then beat her with the pistol, according to testimony.
Romero died, but Kaya lived to testify against her ex-husband. On the witness stand, she said he had called her “whore” in their native Turkish throughout the ordeal, while she continuously screamed at him to think about their three children.
Romero's brother, Elmer Pagoada, and a few members of the jury that convicted Kalican of first-degree manslaughter, attempted murder and other charges on May 31, attended the sentencing. Kalican, a tall, pale man who had worn a dark suit throughout his trial, was dressed in a bright yellow prison jumpsuit. He chose not to speak at the sentencing.
Assistant State's Attorney Paul Narducci, who had tried the case with his colleague, Theresa Ferryman, asked the judge to impose “the stiffest of penalties.” He said Kalican has no remorse and that his prospect for rehabilitation is “poor, if not non-existent.”
“Even as late as June 25, 2006, he believes his wife is as guilty as him,” Narducci said. Reading from a presentencing report on Kalican, he quoted Kalican telling an interviewer, “In my religion, if your wife cheats on you, you have to punish her.”
After the sentencing, Narducci said the judge's comments “clearly reflected that the jury found Mr. Kalican had committed heinous crimes, taking the life of an innocent person and inexorably altering the lives of his ex-wife and children.”
In deciding to take his case to trial, Kalican had rejected an agreement in which he would plead guilty to murder and first-degree assault in exchange for a sentence of 50 years in prison with the right to argue for less.
The breakdown of his sentence is as follows: 38 years for first-degree manslaughter with a firearm; 20 years for attempted murder, to be served concurrently with 20 years for first-degree assault; five years for violation of a protective order; and one year for carrying a pistol without a permit.
Kalican had testified that he accidentally shot Romero and did not know how his wife was shot.
At the sentencing, defense attorney Martin J. Minnella of Waterbury asserted there was “a lot of testimony that was not substantiated by evidence” during the trial, including Kaya's version of the struggle that took place in the third-floor bedroom that night.
He said New London police should have responded differently when Kalican called them earlier that night and asked them to respond to a “restraining order” that prevented his ex-wife from having male guests overnight. A police dispatcher told Kalican it was a civil matter — not a criminal issue for police — and suggested he call his attorney in the morning.
Kalican himself was prevented from going to the Blackhall Street home by a criminal protective order that had been issued by a judge following an earlier domestic dispute. But it was a civil divorce decree that he referred to in his phone call to police. In divorcing Kalican, Kaya had agreed to a condition that stipulated she could continue to live in her ex-husband's home provided she did not have male guests overnight.
“If the police reacted in the proper manner and didn't just blow this man off, the outcome would have been different,” Minnella said.
Kaya and Romero's sister have filed a civil wrongful death lawsuit against New London police.