Linda Hardy, Glenn Turner's sister: We didn't hate her. We didn't love her. But we would have never dreamed she was this cold, wicked, evil. I still can't understand it.
There was just a lot to puzzle over and untangle in the unhappy coming together of Lynn and Glenn, the 911 dispatcher and the Georgia cop.
His running-buddies saw that Glenn Turner wasn't going to be on the hunt much longer at the country-western bars where they kicked-back, drank beer and chased women. He'd been claimed.
But Don Cawthon, Glenn's best friend, never did get what their big-bellied friend they called "Buddha" saw in Lynn Womack. Other than the obvious.
Cawthon: How they got involved was a sexual act. Period. She was very attractive figure-wise, she had a very shapely figure. I mean she wasn't Raquel Welch but body-wise she was attractive.
But Glenn's fellow officers just knew this was going to be a train wreck.
Mike Archer was Glenn’s coworker, and then supervisor, on the Cobb County Police Force.
He knew that Glenn was great at helping people out on the job, but probably never would made a great detective- Glenn was more Andy Griffith than Colombo.
Mike Archer, Glenn Turner's co-worker: I think sometimes he was too nice of a guy.Dennis Murphy, Dateline correspondent: A little vulnerability in his character?Archer: Yeah. If I asked him for a favor he would do it in a heartbeat. That's just the way he was.
And the way the guys saw it he was no match for Lynn Womack.
Murphy: Did she love him?Archer: Did she love him? No. Absolutely not.Murphy: You didn't see anything there? Archer: Absolutely not.Murphy: So you though she was just playing him?Archer: Oh absolutely. One hundred percent.
When they met, one of the only things the two of them really had in common was a shared love of the well-tuned internal-combustion engine. They were both totally into NASCAR.
Archer: She liked stock car racing. She was a big race fan. If there was a race anywhere nearby Lynn would be there. Murphy: This was a woman who could change her own oil, right? Knew her way around.Archer: Oh she was very knowledgeable with cars. Glenn had told me that on numerous occasions that she could be a mechanic.
And Glenn’s passion was motorcycles. He'd never been one much for hunting or fishing but put him on a big hog and he was a happy guy.
Glenn's sister Linda remembers Lynn on her own bike right beside him.
Linda Hardy, Glenn's sister: She liked to do things he liked to do. She would ride a motorcycle just like him. I mean. She'd pop the wheelies. She was a girl that could do guy things.
Linda remembers Lynn did like being around the guys.
A sometimes being an officer meant free rent at an apartment complex in exchange for security duties. It was like living in one big frat house.
If there wasn't a party at someone's place, there were ladies to be pursued at clubs like The Crystal Chandelier.
Glenn, Don and a few of the other guys fancied themselves southern-fried Frankie and Dinos. They called themselves the “Rat Pack.”
Cawthon: We all enjoyed going out and talking to women and stuff. But generally that's what you’re always portrayed as, like “Let's go hunt...”
The Rat-Packers admired the way that "Buddha" could attract the women without in-your-face moves.
Cawthon: Some of us were a little bit more aggressive and upfront, you know. Whereas Glenn, he was just a big ole puppy dog. He's just real nice, treated 'em like a gentleman. He was respected by the ladies.
Lynn had worked courthouse-related jobs, as a secretary for a lawyer for awhile, but after hours she liked to hang out and party with cops.
She seemed to like her men in uniform.
Murphy: She liked cops and cops liked her?Archer: Yeah. Absolutely.
Don got his first eye-popping look at her at a gathering held by one of the local cops.
Cawthon: I saw this silhouette coming-up outta the hallway and it was very shapely, very attractive in a dark blue dress. She had two pistols in her hand. I could tell it was a female and it was Lynn.
22-year-old Lynn Womack struck people as a dynamo: fun, lively, and always up for the next party.
Linda Hardy: She was always on the phone. Had a pager. Always busy doing things, going places. People calling her. She wanted the spotlight on her. She wanted to be known.Murphy: She liked to be connected to everybody?Linda Hardy: Absolutely. She wanted to be the ‘in’ person. You know some people want to be the star of the crowd? That was her.
Looking back, friends of Glenn can only speculate on why she picked him out and picked-him up at one of those cop parties but she did.
Cawthon: It was a power thing. It was strictly a struggle because it was alluring that he was the big bachelor. Murphy: Get him...Cawthon: Stay the bachelor. And she's like, “I can conquer this.”
Pretty soon Lynn was lavishing presents on the laid back motorcycle cop.
Cawthon: Cameras. Radios. I mean, wheels, mags.Murphy: Nice expensive stuff?Cawthon: I mean, not just boots, cowboy boots, belts...Murphy: Was he kind of flattered by it?Cawthon: Oh yeah he'd always call me up and be bragging. He'd be grinning and laughing.Murphy: She got me this cool thing?Cawthon: Look at what she got me.
Dazzled by the gifts, flattered by her pursuit and also apparently blind to what all his buddies thought obvious about Glenn’s new girlfriend: She was a world-class flirt.
Cawthon: She comes over and plops on the couch, puts her head in my lap, looks up and says, “I wonder what it'd be like to kiss you?' And I just told her, “Get the hell up off my lap,” and Glenn’s standing right over at the door.Linda Hardy: You see her hanging on guys, sitting on their laps, giving them back massages. And you don’t do that kind of thing if you're engaged or you're dating somebody or whatever. You don’t hang with every guy that comes along.
In her latest job as one of the county's 911 dispatchers, Lynn was the voice on the emergency frequencies talking to those men in uniform, everyone says, she liked so much.
Archer: I would say probably when she was dating Glenn; I would name five or six other officers at the time that were probably dating her at the same time. That's why when Glenn told me he was marrying Lynn. I was like, “Are you crazy?”Cawthon: It was right around Christmastime. He pulled-up in my driveway. And I walked outside and he started flipping open his left pocket and pulled out this ring and you know what it is when you see it before he even opened it, and I just said, "Oh my God!" So he popped it open and I said, “You've lost your damn mind!”
Glenn and Lynn set a date for the wedding: August 1993. He'd long told his family he was intent on marrying before turning 30.
Murphy: That was a thing to do in his mental list?Linda Hardy: In his mental list. Absolutely. He had to be married before he turned 30.
Glenn would meet his deadline by just a month.
Murphy: Did you think he was marrying a little tramp?Linda Hardy: How about "a big tramp"? Cawthon: It was that gut feeling that she's not right. I mean there's just something not right about this girl.
No one guessed just how intricate a web she was capable of spinning. No one was calling Lynn the black widow, not yet.
Don Cawthon, friend of Glenn Turner: I knew that night he when he pulled that ring out he was serious. That's when I told him, "You’ve lost your damn mind.”Murphy: You were serious? Cawthon: I was very serious.Murphy: You weren't just kidding?Cawthon: Oh no. I told him, “You’re going crazy.” I said, “You don’t want to do that.”
Glenn Turner and Lynn Womack were nobody's candidates to beat the odds that 50-percent of all marriages fail.
His sister didn't even want to go to the church.
Linda Hardy, Glenn's sister: It was terrible. There was no joy. You know people were just walking around and just making jokes, trying to make light of a very bad, gloomy situation. It was awful. It wasn't a wedding.
Glenn's brother, James, drew gasps with his toast.
James Turner, Glenn's brother: Myself being the best man, everyone told me I had to be the one to make the toast and I just told them I didn’t want to. And they said I had to, that’s tradition, so the toast I made was “I feel like I’m more at a funeral than I am at a wedding.” It was one of those things that just popped out of my mouth. It was not rehearsed. It was not written down. It was just spur of the moment.Murphy: What did Lynn say? Do you remember seeing her face after you said that?James Turner: It was just astonishment. Like, how dare you.
Glenn's buddies were taking bets at the reception on how long the marriage would last.
Mike Archer, co-worker: I remember sitting around talking with people at the reception and negative talk like about how long they would last. Not long that Glenn’s going to have his heart broken. Cawthon: I knew it would never last. I just prayed there wouldn't be any children involved.
And when the couple just could not get the unity candle to light, it seemed the perfect ending to an awful ceremony.
James Turner: It was just like it was an omen that this was not meant to be. For some reason.Murphy: Could not get it lit.James Turner: Could not.Cawthon: I was like 'okay' -- there's your sign from up above. Walk out. And I mean they tried and tried. Never did get it lit.
Lynn spoke to her new mother-in-law only once that day--barked at her, actually.
It was as the couple was getting ready to leave the reception in the bride's snazzy car.
Kathy Turner: She told nobody to go near her pace car. And I was just walking up towards it and she said, "Get away from my car!" and I thought, "Well, my goodness!"Murphy: She says to you, get away from my car?Kathy, Glenn's mother: Yes.
And things went downhill from there...
Murphy: What'd you hear about the honeymoon?Cawthon: Oh, it was a disaster.
Glenn had naively booked them a cruise ship tailored to families. Lynn told friends she was miserable.
Murphy: You saw cracks right away?Cawthon: There was a Grand Canyon before they got married.Murphy: And it got worse?Don: Oh yeah.
The couple that had had a common interest in two things: hot cars and hot sex was, shortly after the honeymoon, down to one.
Cawthon: They're not having sex. They're sleeping in separate rooms. It was gone within three-months. Had a female problem that she couldn't have sex and "well, ok, she gets that female problem corrected, you know?" And she didn't.
Glenn withdrew from his longtime circle of friends.
Archer: All of a sudden, he just never went out. Never saw him. After work we'd go out, never went out with us. No Falcons games, no Braves games.
He dropped away from his family.
James Turner: Every time I would try to talk to him on the phone or go see him Lynn would be, there would be someone in the background and he would say it's Lynn. And I’d be like, "What's going on?" And he's like, "Well, she wants me to get off the phone. She says that I’m her husband now and I need to spend time with her."
But he threw himself into his work.
Glenn needed to help pay for their new toys -- a new car, motorcycles.
A full-shift for the county as a 3-to-11 motorcycle cop and as many part-time jobs as he could scrape up before and after work.
Archer: I knew Glenn before he met Lynn -- he'd work a part time here and there. Maybe at the theater to fill in or something once in a while. But never like that. All he did was work. Murphy: So he's working like a dog?Archer: Oh absolutely. He had made the comment to me at one point that he had worked 365-days without a day off. And not been off and he was just slap worn out.Murphy: Where was that coming from?Archer: Pressure from Lynn. The money. He was busting his butt paying off all these credit cards and then was ringing them right back up. So I knew that as hard as he worked, it wasn't going to make things any better.
Lynn, they say, had taken control of the family finances.
Glenn came into the marriage with debt and Lynn said she was determined to get them out of it.
And she ran a tight ship.
Just barely home from the honeymoon, Lynn made sure she was the beneficiary on Glenn’s insurance policy.
Linda Hardy: Who is on their honeymoon thinking about, "Oh, I gotta get my husband's life insurance taken care of."
His buddies say she put Glenn on an allowance.
Cawthon: $20 a week.Murphy: So he's working 365 days a year and she's giving him spending money?Cawthon: Right.Murphy: What do you think happened to the money?Cawthon: She spent it.
Glenn's mom said she did her best to feel charitable about Lynn but it wasn't easy.
Kathy: He wasn't getting anything out of it, if you wanna know the truth, just makin' money just to pay bills. It's all they were getting.Linda: From the day she got that ring on her finger she turned into a totally different person.
While Glenn spent Christmas with his family, Lynn was a no-show.
Kathy: Why isn't she with her husband on Christmas day? Where else should you be?
Don Cawthon says he and Lynn had a bitter falling out that lasted for months because of toxic trouble she went out of her way to stir up.
Glenn didn't want to hear it any more from Don about what bad news his wife was.
Cawthon: We were always at it. She just constantly wanted to butt heads with me.
And his fellow officers had to stifle a laugh when Glenn confided in a sad sack kind of way that Lynn couldn't have sex. Cop shop rumors had it otherwise...
Archer: We were all laughing behind his back.Murphy: Because you thought she was running around?Archer: We knew. I had officers, one particular officer who had called me and said, “Are they together? Because I’ve seen her with this other officer in another precinct. I’ve actually seen her go into his apartment. He's single. And, are they together?” I said, “Yeah, they're together.”Murphy: It must have been tough for you?Archer: He wanted me to say something to Glenn. I said, “I’m not gonna say it. You say something to him. He told us in an open squad room that they'd only slept together either once or twice after they'd gotten married and we're all just thinking, “Man, how stupid could you be?”
But Glenn was trying his hardest to make his marriage work.
Linda Hardy: I think that he was humiliated. He was heartbroken. And his pride didn't want him to say that “Hey guys, I screwed up.”
If there was a place where the pathetic marriage of Glenn and Lynn finally bottomed out it was here.
It was a Sunday in February and Glenn was filling in for Lynn at her extra part-time job at this filling station.
While Glenn was watching the pumps, Lynn was eight hours away breathing fumes. She'd taken off for the Daytona 500.
Cawthon: Glenn’s working seven days a week. Supposedly in so much debt and she's at the Daytona 500.
Glenn and longtime friend Don Cawthon had just recently patched things up and he'd swung by to visit a pal he knew was down in the dumps.
Cawthon: I said, “Glenn, who'd she go with? She's in Daytona and you’re up here working a $7.00 an hour job?” He said, “Donald, a man can only take so much. She's coming home tonight. I just heard from her shortly before you pulled up and we're either gotta work this thing out or I’m filing for divorce, I’ve had enough. I can only take so much.”Murphy: It was decision time you thought?Archer: Oh definitely.
Glenn's friend and supervisor had the same heart to heart.
They went to a Chili's for a dinner break. Mike Archer treated. Glenn was broke. He'd used up his allowance.
Archer: He starts crying in the middle of the diner. He's tearing up, starting to cry and I’m like, “Man, Don't start crying here. Man, we're in uniform in public, you know" and he basically just looked at me and he said, “You know, Don was right about her. You can go ahead and tell him that but he was right. A man can only take so much.” I think he'd finally come to the realization that you know there was nothing there. He was moving in with his father that Friday, and he'd already made arrangements. He was moving out.
On the Tuesday before the Friday, though, Glenn called in sick.
Archer: He got on the phone and he was either sick as a dog or putting on an Academy Award performance because he was just moaning, saying he was throwing up, had diarrhea and cramps. He said, “Man, Mike I’ve never been sick like this. I feel like I’m about to die.”
As if Glenn Turner didn't have enough trouble with his marriage on the rocks, the motorcycle cop was now as sick as a dog.
Cawthon: I said, “What's wrong with you?,' He said, “Well, I felt like I’ve had the flu for about a week or better but I got worried when the blood started coming out of my nose.” I said, “Yeah, that would make me worried.”
Vomiting. Cramps like nothing he'd ever felt before.
Linda Hardy: He said, “You know my stomach was hurtin' so bad, I thought I was gonna die.” I’m like, well dang, he said he had the diarrhea, and the vomiting and the fevers, and the chills, and he's like, “I’m just really sick.”
It wasn't like Glenn to call in sick three days in a row.
Archer: He said “Man, Mike, I’ve never been sick like this. I feel like I am about to die. I’m going to go to the hospital I’m hurting bad.” I said, “You gonna be alright?” He said “Man, I don’t know. I ain't never hurt like this.” You could hear his voice was shaking as he talked.
He got Lynn to let him tag along to the hospital where she was going to check a bump on her head.
Linda Hardy: He called me Thursday night after he got back from the hospital and told me that they gave him fluids, a suppository for the vomiting and that he felt a whole lot better. He was eating a popsicle and he said, “I think I’m going to be alright now.”Murphy: He sounded better to you?Linda Hardy: Oh yeah. He was definitely better.
That was the message to Archer, his friend from work, too.
Archer: He said, “I'll let you know if I’m gonna work tomorrow or not.”
Kathy Turner, enroute to a family reunion in Jacksonville, Florida, figured Glenn had been well enough to go back to work when she got the answering machine and left a message.
Kathy: “This is momma. I’m heading to Florida and I love you Glenn and I love you Lynn,” and that's the end of the conversation.
Lynn Turner would say later that Glenn had a fitful night.
The next morning, she went out and when she returned home that afternoon she found him dead in bed.
Mike Archer was at his apartment when his pager went off. He called the precinct and got the incomprehensible news.
Mike Archer: The initial reaction to me was that f*ing, f*ing, f*ing--and the “B” word. I mean saying it over and over and I was pounding the bar. And I was pacing back and forth. I said, “I knew it. She killed him. She killed him. She killed him. She done something to him.”
Mike paged Don Cawthon “Signal 63,” which is police code for "officer down."
Don Cawthon: I said first, “Did he get shot? Did he roll up on something?” I was looking at my watch. I knew what time he went to work. He didn't. I’m like, “No, so did she kill him?” He said, “I don’t know what's going on, get over here.”
The two friends flashed instantly that Lynn had murdered Glenn. Mike Archer called Glenn's sister with the news of his death. She was of the same mind: it was Lynn.
Linda Hardy, Glenn's sister: He’s like, “Glenn's dead.” I said, “What the hell did she do, kill him?”Dennis Murphy, Dateline correspondent: You said that?Linda Hardy: Oh yeah, I did. That was my gut instinct.
Glenn Turner, a strapping big guy, suddenly gone at the age of 31.
Was his death such a shock that those in his life who knew him best unfairly focused their anger on Lynn, the easy target, the wife they never liked?
Suspicions weren't science. The police had found no evidence of foul play and Glenn had been sick for several days during a bad flu season. When the autopsy was finished the medical examiner ruled that Glenn died of an enlarged heart. A naturally occurring death, though one still shockingly unexpected.
Kathy Turner got the call while she was attending what was supposed to be a joyful family reunion.
Kathy Turner, mother: I said to the rest of the family sitting around, “Glenn died,” and they all looked at me and then the tears started flowing.
It was also a death in the close-knit police family -- Glenn an officer. His wife, a dispatcher.
Authorities took photos, asked some questions.
That evening the newly widowed Lynn called her sister-in-law.
Linda Hardy: She starts with this big long spiel. She tells me that that Thursday night that he got in the middle of the night and was hallucinating. She said that he went downstairs in their basement and had tried to drink something that looked like gasoline and so she took it away from him.
Lynn said he had tried to fly off their back porch. She eventually got him back to bed.
She told the officers that she looked in on him the next morning -- they slept in separate bedrooms -- he ate some Jell-O and crackers and she went out.
Linda Hardy: She said she left home between 9:00 and 9:30 that morning. And she got back home around 2:30, and he was gone. And it was like, “I’m just calling to tell you what happened. And I’m driving down the road really fast. And I don’t know where in the hell I’m going. But I wanted you to know what was going on.” There were no tears. There was no screaming or hollering, just telling me her side of the story. And here I am boo-hooing and trying to write this stuff down. It’s like, “For God's sake, what's wrong with you?”
Lynn's story didn't wash with Glenn's buddies.
The police investigator might not have found anything but Don Cawthon wasn't alone in thinking Lynn's behavior made her suspect.
Cawthon: You're a trained 911 operator. You had just come back from the hospital. Wouldn't your instincts say, “Well, wait a minute, maybe he's having an allergic reaction. My husband, now you can die from that.” She didn't pick up the phone, doesn't call anybody. But six hours later she takes her ass out of there and goes shopping? Now your husband's deathly ill, been up in the middle of the night hallucinating and you go shop to run errands? I’m sorry.
Even at the funeral home, Glenn's family didn't seem to give Lynn a break. Everything she did seemed off to them.
Glenn's sister remembers Lynn not approaching the casket. She saw no tears from the new widow, just impatience with the condolences.
Linda Hardy: She comes to me and says, “I gotta get the hell out of here” before time was even up. My God, it ended at 9 o'clock and she acted like it was a pain in her butt to be there. You know, this is her husband. No crying, no nothing.
Glenn’s brother, James, remembers Lynn acting almost giddy.
James Turner: The way she acted at the funeral and at the wake was more appropriate to how she should have acted at the wedding. She had her friend there on her side. I sat directly behind them in the pews at the church for the service and they were laughing and cutting up and poking each other in the side. It was all I could do not to reach up and slap both of them. I really had to hold myself back because it was just like all fun and games to them. Archer: As soon as the funeral was over with, she was adios amigos.
But Lynn Turner had had enough of them too. She couldn't seem to get away from them fast enough.
A new chapter in her life had opened and she wasn't wasting any time getting there.
When Lynn Turner put pedal to the metal and drove out of her in-laws lives in 1995, her late husband's family was left desolate, pondering Glenn's very sudden death. Flu-like symptoms, then gone. The beloved cop's sister Linda wasn't alone in thinking there might have been foul play, thinking the worst about Lynn Turner.
Linda Hardy: I didn't know what happened. I didn't know how it happened but I knew that he didn't die of natural causes. I didn't know what she did, but I knew if anybody had anything to do with it, it was her.
The medical examiner had ruled Glenn Turner’s death a natural one, due to an enlarged heart.
In a few weeks time his family finally received the autopsy report they'd requested.
It raised questions and the Turners were searching for answers - to them nothing about Glenn's death added up. A fit young police officer dying of heart trouble just didn't make sense.
They say they made an appointment with the Cobb county medical examiner's office.
Linda Hardy: The medical examiner wasn't available. So we talked to his assistant and he blew us off like we were dirt. Kathy Turner: He said, “This is very strange that you're wanting to ask us questions,” and I said, “Well, I’m sorry, but there's some strange things on this report. I'd like to understand what's going on.”Linda Hardy: There was no explanation whatsoever. We weren't told anything other than “This is what we did and you need to accept it and go on." I told them then, “Something is wrong, my brother died for no reason.” We were blown off. We weren't told crap.
They said the assistant told them that if they wanted a new autopsy they'd have to pay for it themselves.
Defeated. They went home.
Kathy Turner: I would have to pay them at least $10,000 , and I said...Murphy: $10,000 ?Kathy: I don’t have $10,000 to pay for tests.
Lynn Turner, meanwhile, was getting money from the county, almost $800 a month in retirement benefits for her late husband. Glenn's insurance had also paid her $147,000.
The money would become the nest egg she'd use to set up house with the next man in her life -- another man in uniform, a big guy who liked NASCAR and all the nice presents Lynn bought for him.
One week after Glenn died, Lynn leased a new apartment and moved in with her boyfriend, Randy Thompson, a sheriff's deputy then firefighter who lived a few counties away from her old home.
Randy Thompson, it would turn out, wasn't all that new a boyfriend. He and Lynn had been an item for several months by then.
And Thompson, by all his friends and family accounts, in the six months they'd been dating, had no idea his girlfriend was married the entire time.
Lynn had been living a double life. She told some of Randy's friends that she was divorced, others she was widowed.
Randy's sister, Angie, talked to Dateline.
Dennis Murphy, Dateline correspondent: Did she tell you she was married?Angie Thompson: No, she told me that she had lost her husband in the line of duty.
Randy's childhood friend, Melanie Harper.
Melanie Harper, Randy Thompson's friend: I actually thought they were divorced.Murphy: You thought Glenn Turner was still alive.Harper: Right.
They did all know that she worked as a 911 dispatcher in a nearby county and had met Randy when visting Cumming, the town they both grew up in.
Randy was a popular guy around town.
Angie Thompson: He could walk into a room and even if the party had started, so to speak -- when Randy walked in the room that's when it could officially start.
Randy and Lynn met by chance one night in their mutual hometown. Randy's sister said she was hard to miss.
Angie Thompson: She was very flashy initially. She was one of those that liked to be the center of attention.
But at least, the new girlfriend was helping Randy get out and get past a rough patch in his life.
He'd married young, had a little boy, and divorced.
He was working hard to try to keep up with child support payments. Not a lot of time for dating.
Angie Thompson: He wasn't one of those who went out looking for a girl just to be looking.
So when Lynn, the dispatcher, popped into his life, she made it easy for him to drift into a relationship. She was lively, liked to be out on the town -- and even took care of most of the courting.
She bought him presents for no good reason, things like a leather coat and a pair of snakeskin boots that cost $1,100.
Randy's dad, Perry, was floored.
Perry, Randy Thompson's dad: When he first told me about them I said “There's no pair of shoes on earth that cost $1,100.” He said, “Yeah daddy there is because she showed me the ticket.”
Lynn and Randy were getting to be a serious couple. They were together almost every weekend.
Randy's sister Kimberly thought she knew the girlfriend's game.
Kim, Randy Thompson's sister: She chased him, and she meant to have Randy and she was going to if it was the last thing she did. My specific words to her were, “Lynn, I think you love the chase.”Murphy: The chase, the pursuit of the quarry?Kim: Uh huh. I said, “I don’t believe you're in love with Randy.” She denied it, she said she did love him and I said, “Well, that's, not for me to say but from everything that I see, I think once you got Randy you wouldn't want him anymore.”
Randy, meanwhile, had left his job as a sheriff's deputy and moved back with his parents a couple of hours south of Atlanta.
Randy's sister Brandy remembers Lynn drove down to visit him constantly.
Brandy, Randy Thompson's sister: She was just coming on very strong. And you know someone that would drive two hours and spend the day, turn around and drive two hours back. Then in five hours be on her way back down here. It was just strange.
Randy's mother Nita was concerned about this new girlfriend glued to her son.
Nita, Randy Thompson's mother: I tried to like Lynn. She was very pushy. She was down here every weekend, sometimes during the week to see Randy. And at that time, Randy just wanted her to go away.
There was, of course, one sticky little problem Lynn had apparently never mentioned to Randy or anyone else in his circle. All the while she was pursuing him; she was still married to a cop named Glenn Turner.
Remember Lynn going with friends to the Daytona 500 in February 1995 while Glenn stayed home and filled in for her at the gas station?
She'd in fact invited Randy, her boyfriend on the side, and some of his buddies to be her guest at the big race.
And remember that Christmas day when her mother-in-law, Kathy Turner, had wondered where Lynn could possibly be if not with her husband? She was, in fact, down south lavishing presents on Randy's parents and family.
Perry Thompson: She brought everybody there, our daughters and my wife and I gifts. The gift she brought us was in my view a pretty expensive gift -- a stereo component set.
She bought an expensive battery-driven-sit-inside car for Randy's son, Nicholas.
Randy's sister Angie knew just what an impulsive, consumer-tornado Lynn could be at the mall: one store after another, to see it was to buy it. Like the top-of-the-line video-camera with all the accessories.
Angie: I was just quite shocked. I just kind of stood there dumbfounded because I had just never seen anybody own that many credit cards before and she just fanned them out just like a deck of cards and looked for the one that said, ‘Circuit City’ and pulled it out and said, “Charge it.”
Lynn had told people in her new circle of friends that she’d come into some money from her grandmother's will.
That spring -- just a few months after Glenn died -- she treated Randy and another couple to an all-expense paid cruise.
Melanie, Randy Thompson's friend: She had paid for the entire cruise. For him and herself and then two friends. I think it was around $10,000 for the whole trip.
But not long after Randy and Lynn set-up house together, whatever good times they'd shared seemed long gone.
As his family saw it the two had become the Bickersons, constantly picking at one another.
Kim Thompson: She knew how to push Randy's buttons Murphy: She enjoyed doing that?Kim Thompson: Oh, yes. And she did it frequently.
She was jealous whenever he was out of her sight.
Melanie: Randy had gone to play golf with my boss and his brother and she called him ten times. On the golf course, “Where are you at? What are you doing?” Yeah, she was very obsessive. Wanted to know what was going on at all times.
When it wasn't Randy, it was his father on the receiving end of her screaming cell phone calls.
Perry Thompson: There were quite a few times I would get phone calls from her and she would be extremely upset.
The relationship was rocky and Randy seemed exhausted, stretched. He saw less of his family who found it hard to be around Lynn and Randy together.
Perry Thompson: When we were there they were usually arguing most of the time so we didn't go up there a lot because of some of that.
And yet, as combustible as Randy and Lynn were as a couple, they still went and had children together: a girl and a boy.
Kim Thompson: By the time they started having kids it had gotten to a much deeper level than I thought it would get to.Murphy: You thought they would have broken up?Kim Thompson: Uh-huh, and I believe if there had not been kids, they would have. I mean, my brother had already had a failed marriage with a child and I think he was trying everything he could to make this relationship work because there were kids involved.
He gave her an engagement ring but she didn't wear it. But even though there would be no wedding , Lynn made sure she was the beneficiary on a new life insurance policy she encouraged him to get for their children.
When the onetime life-of-the party fireman took his first overdose of pills, people began to wonder whether he'd get out of his relationship with Lynn in one piece.
Nita Thompson, Randy's mother: She was a very cold, conniving person. I really hated that Randy had gotten involved with her.Perry Thompson: In the middle of the night Randy called and I answered the phone and he said, “Daddy I’ve done something stupid.” I said “What have you done?” and he said, “Well I took some pills.”
Randy Thompson was brought to the emergency room in 1997 after swallowing too many pills.
His family was sensitive about anyone calling it a suicide attempt.
Nita Thompson: He was trying to get Lynn's attention cause he didn't take enough stuff to kill him. And Randy knew, he wasn't dumb. He had been with the sheriff's department. He was with the fire department. He knew how to kill himself if he had wanted to do it.
No question though the young firefighter's personal life was in disarray. The woman he'd had two children with, his live-in companion, Lynn, was trying to control every aspect of his life, as a sister saw it.
That's why the overdose, she thought.
Angie Thompson: I think it was maybe just trying to say something is not right here, maybe this would maybe wake her up and get her to change the way she was towards him.
Her life with Randy -- who was by all accounts clueless about her and Glenn's history -- was becoming ever more tempestuous.
The firefighter was moving in and out of the house they shared.
Kim Thompson, sister: I told him, I know you love your kids, but you can not do this by yourself, and if she can't meet you halfway then the best thing you can do is move on.
But Randy didn't, and two years after the first overdose, he did it again. Pills.
Melanie Harper, Randy Thompson's friend: I was like, “Randy! What is up with this?” He said, “Melanie, she will not let me see my kids and I can't handle it. She has to be in control of everything and the only way i knew to get her attention was to do this.”Murphy: Did you think he was intending to kill himself?Harper: Absolutely not. Randy liked himself way too much.
After his second overdose, two kids, and four years of living together, Randy finally moved out of the house he shared with Lynn for good.
But Lynn, says Randy's mother, gave him no rest.
Nita Thompson, Randy's mother: She would not leave him alone. She held those children over his head. She wanted to control him. She was a control freak.
In May 2000 Randy had to go in for sinus surgery but problems continued through that summer and into the fall.
Around Thanksgiving, doctors identified a staph infection.
Nita Thompson: They gave him intravenous antibiotics to clear that up and he was doing great.
But when Melanie Harper called on a Saturday in January to see if Randy wanted to get together, she was surprised when their friend Paul answered the phone. He said Randy was sick.
Harper: I said, “What do you mean he's sick?” and he said, “He called me early this morning and he's been throwing up all day; he's kind of out of his head. And I’m like, “What are you talking about -- he was fine.”
Melanie and her husband raced over to Randy's place.
Harper: When I walked in Randy was on the couch and I had to like hold his face to look at me, to get his attention, to focus on me. So he would realize it was me. He was cross-eyed.
Randy had been to Longhorn's the night before with Lynn and the kids.
Randy had seemed okay lately, but could this be another overdose?
Harper: Paul's main concern is, if we take him to the hospital and this doctor sees him again, he knows his history and he's gonna call the boss.Dennis Murphy: Not good to be a firefighter that ends up in the hospital more than he should?Harper: Right.
Lynn was at the apartment. She was worried.
Harper: Lynn is very concerned with him, thinks that he needs to go the hospital. She says, “Call me and let me know, I can't go because I’ve to take care of the kids.”
As the ambulance headed out with the sick firefighter, the friends threw out all of Randy's pills just in case they were the culprits.
At the hospital, Randy began hallucinating.
Harper: He actually, at one point, looked at me and said, “Simon, get on your cage.” Now Simon is his bird so I walk out there and I said “Listen, he is cock-eyed. He is hallucinating.” The nurse said “Well isn't he on pain medication?” and I said “Yes.” She said “Well it could be from that.”
The emergency room docs thought Randy had a stomach virus. They put some fluids in him and wrote out a prescription.
Melanie drove Randy back home.
Melanie Harper, friend: He actually walked up the steps himself, with no help at all, went straight in and I fixed him some Gatorade. He got ready for bed and lay down.Murphy: Did you think that this was a bad episode that was over?Harper: Yeah.
When Melanie called Randy Sunday morning he was grouchy about his friends tossing out his painkillers.
Harper: He was like, “My head is busting. I don’t what y'alls problem is, I don’t know why you all think I’ve been taking too many, but I’m not. My head's hurting, I just need some.” He was Randy. He was fine at that point.Murphy: He was able to get around the apartment, get out of bed?Harper: Yes.Murphy: So he was on his way back?Harper: Yeah he was fine.
But Sunday night. The phone again, it was Lynn, and she was worried.
She'd been over to Randy's to drop off the prescriptions she'd filled for him. She had to go home to the kids but asked Melanie to check up on Randy. He was starting to sink again. He was hyperventilating.
Harper: I was like, “Okay.” I hung up the phone with her and called him but the phone was off the hook. Busy.
Randy Thompson, firefighter, 32-years old, had been as sick as he'd ever been over the weekend.
His friends thought he rallied after a dash to the emergency room that weekend when the doctors released him.
But Monday morning, when Melanie Harper called Lynn, the mother of Randy's children, the news was ominous.
Harper: I said, “Hey, what's going on?” She said, “I’m not real sure. All I know is Randy's truck's outside. The door's locked. They can't get in. Nobody's answering. So they're fixing to bust the door down.”
Randy's buddies from the fire department found him dead inside his apartment slumped on the couch.
Randy's mother learned of her son's death from her sister-in-law.
Nita Thompson: I said, “What's wrong?” She said, “Nita, it's Randy,” and I went on my knees. I said, “Tell me that he's okay, tell me he's gonna be okay.” She said, “He's gone,” and I went all to pieces.Kim Thompson: I turn down the road that I live on and I see a car in my driveway and I’m like, “What's going on?”
Mother told daughter.
Kim Thompson: What's wrong with Randy? Randy's gone to heaven and I just remember just pretty much hittin' the floor saying, “No!”'
The family was devastated.
Perry Thompson: Well you don’t bury your children. Your children bury you. And it doesn't matter whether your children are 3 or 33.
Melanie was as distraught as everyone else.
When she pulled herself together, she phoned Lynn who was now working for a judge.
Melanie Harper: She was at work. I said, “Are you ok?” She said, “I’m as well as I can be. I just got out of the bathroom from puking my guts out but I’m okay. You could tell she had been crying, so my thing was, "Bless this poor girl's heart." Here, the father of her two children is dead and she has nobody.
The medical examiner ruled that Randy Thompson had died of heart failure.
Angie Thompson: The initial thought was that the staph infection somehow had worsened; you know maybe it had gotten worse before the antibiotics had started to really kick in and it just overtook him.
Arrangements were handled at the funeral home owned by the in-laws of Randy's youngest sister.
Brandy Thompson, youngest sister: I had written him a letter. I put it in the casket with him and I just talked to him for a little while.Murphy: What kind of things did you tell him?Brandy Thompson: Just how much I already missed him. And how much I regret not being with him more, not spending more time with him, not talking to him more. Just how sad that I am.
At the funeral home, they say Lynn kept to herself.
Angie Thompson: I never saw her shed a tear. I mean now, you gotta understand, we're all very hysterical. I’m pregnant. I’m upset. My sisters, my dad, my mom, everybody is just tremendously floored.
Lynn did not want to go into the room where Randy's body was laid out.
Perry Thompson: I hugged her and told her that I was obviously upset, everybody was upset. And I told her, “Well, come on. I'll walk you in there to see him” and she said, “No!” Emphatically no. She said, “No, I don’t want to see him.”
Randy got a full firefighter's send off. All the honors and solemn rituals from the brotherhood.
Perry Thompson: They had three helicopters fly over, the honor guard from the Forysthe County Fire Department. There were 24 hour guards around the casket.
Randy was buried and as the cars were leaving the cemetery, Melanie got a call on her cell phone.
It was Lynn saying something odd.
Melanie Harper: She said, “Guess what you're going to be hearing next? I’m like, “What?” She said, “You're gonna hear that I killed Randy and that it seems a lot like my ex-husband's death.” She was like, “You don’t believe that do you?” I said, “Of course I don’t believe that.”
But even before the funeral, talk of Randy Thompson’s sudden death reached this car dealership.
Glenn Turner’s friend Mike Archer— out of the police at the time— was working here.
Archer's co-worker delivered the shocking news. He told him that Lynn Turner had been in to borrow a car to take to Thompson’s funeral.
Mike Archer: When he said that I mean the hair stood-up on the back of my neck and there was no doubt in my mind.
Archer got on the horn to Don Cawthon: Turner’s one-time fellow rat-packer.
Son Cawthon: He was going berserk. I’m like what happened? He said Lynn's -- we all thought she was married -- Lynn's second husband is dead. Same symptoms, and I said, “Oh you son of a… Now somebody better wake up."
It had been six years since their buddy Glenn had died -- and the two agreed they'd use their law enforcement connections to try to set a fire under somebody with authority to get a full-scale investigation going.
In fact, over the years, the two had never let up bugging cops about their friend Glenn's sudden death.
One influential lawman who got intrigued with the pair's persistence was Mike Edwards, then a police chief in another Georgia town about 30 miles away.
Mike Edwards, police chief: The first thing you learned as an investigator with any death is, it's a homicide until you prove it otherwise.
Chief Edwards never knew Glenn Turner, Lynn's husband, but three years after Turner died, he married the mother of one of the dead policeman's best friends.
His stepson told him that he thought Lynn Turner had killed Glenn.
Edwards: He just said that he felt like Lynn had killed him which I interpreted to mean that she had worked him to death because he had talked about him working extra jobs.Murphy: But he didn't mean that did he?Edwards: No, he meant literally that she killed him.
That's when he started thinking that Lynn Turner’s statement to police was odd -- that Glenn had been hallucinating, trying to fly, attempting to drink something like gasoline.
Edwards: In spite of the fact that she had worked as a dispatcher-- she'd been around police for years -- why in the world would you, if you have somebody seriously ill and maybe trying to drink something, would you go shopping?
The wife, thought the chief, was volunteering too much information that day when she told investigators about her the errands she ran the morning he died.
Edwards: She established an alibi she didn't need to establish --that's not typical behavior, and based on my experience when somebody starts promoting their alibi or giving you an excuse early on, that's a pretty good indicator of involvement.
But still Edwards didn't have jurisdiction in Glenn Turner’s death.
Archer: You kinda have to be careful. You don't want to step on somebody else's toes. You have to be careful about getting on their turf.
But in his off hours he puzzled over the pieces that didn't fit.
Lynn Turner was so aggressive about insurance matters. A fit young officer was suddenly ill. Why?
And what about him trying to drink gasoline in the basement?
Archer: She, in my belief, had poisoned him -- didn't know how. I looked at some books, did some research and wasn't able to come up with anything on that.
He had hit a wall. His investigation had all but fizzled out.
But now came a new, startling piece of the puzzle, word of Randy Thompson’s death.
Was Glenn's dying related somehow to the sudden death of Randy Thompson?
Edwards started leaning on colleagues who did have authority in the Glenn Turner matter.
Edwards: I said you've got to reopen the Glenn Turner case. There's no doubt in my mind and I reiterated the reasons. I said based on what she said, based on what had happened, and based on this other, it's gonna be murder.
A ball had started to roll and was picking-up speed.
Glenn Turner’s family quickly learned about another suddenly dead man in Lynn's life.
Glenn's mother summoned-up her courage, then cold-called a woman identified in the Randy Thompson obituary as a sister.
Angie Thompson: This lady, very nice, tells me her name is Kathy Turner, very sorry to hear about Randy, her son Glenn was the one that used to be married to Lynn. And point blank asked me if we thought she had anything to do with it. She thought it was very odd.Murphy: What did you think of that?Angie Thompson: We didn't think she had anything to do with it. Because we thought the staph infection had done it.
Randy's sister told the caller surely there was no connection between the deaths.
Kathy Thompson: So I politely got off the phone very carefully and I said, “Well, I’m sorry, sorry I disturbed you,” and whatever and I hung up the phone.
But the Thompson family wasn't entirely dismissing what this stranger had suggested in that disturbing phone call: that something may not be right about their son Randy's death.
Perry Thompson: Things were not adding up at all. I mean, the fact that we had been told he had an enlarged heart, that he had died, that our child had died. All these things together. Nothing was adding up.
Lynn, meanwhile, was steamed when she found out that Randy had stopped paying the insurance premiums.
She had two kids to support on her own now and there'd be no $200,000 payoff on the lapsed policy -- only a smaller $35,000 policy would come through.
She called Melanie -- who'd been trying to console Lynn in the wake of Randy's death.
Melanie Harper: She couldn’t believe he had let that lapse. She couldn’t believe he was so irresponsible.
So as the Thompson family struggled with their grief, something happened one day after leaving church months after Randy's death.
A relative who worked at the funeral home had come upon a long-lost letter of condolence from Kathy Turner, Glenn's mother. A letter she'd sent almost immediately after that phone call.
Kathy Turner: It went astray for I think it was four-months, but I’m not for sure how long it was, seemed like it was forever.
In the note Kathy Turner said again how sorry she was about Randy and that they should talk about their boys. She left the Thompsons her phone number.
Nita Thompson: So that night I called her and we talked about the identical similarities between Glenn's death and Randy's death.
Alarm bells were now clanging in both households. What had befallen Glenn and Randy?
Nita Thompson: Randy didn't die a natural death. I mean, I knew he didn't.
Would a lab confirm the family's darkest fears?
Randy Thompson had died after a weekend of horrendous flu-like symptoms. The medical examiner ruled the death a natural one due to heart irregularities.
Nita Thompson: I told my husband, “I want to go talk to the crime lab doctor that did Randy's autopsy.” I just did not believe Randy had a heart condition.
So the dazed and grieving couple visited the medical examiner. He had a surprise for them.
Perry Thompson: He listened to us for a few minutes and then he picked up a copy of Glenn Turner’s medical examination, his post-mortem examination and he said “There's no reason this man should be dead.” He told us who this guy was-- that he was Lynn's husband. He said because of this we're going to re-open Randy's investigation.
The medical examiner clearly didn't like what he was now seeing on Glenn Turner’s autopsy -- a report that came to his attention in part from that behind-the-scene needling by Mike Edwards.
Mike Edwards, police detective: I’ve got to give the ball to somebody that can move the ball. Remember, I’m handicapped. I cannot do an investigation. I don’t have the authority to do it and I don’t have the jurisdiction. The only thing I can do is be a catalyst in this thing that can bring pressure to bare in the right places.
And finally all the pressure was starting to work. Authorities were now going to take a closer look at Randy Thompson's lab reports.
Initially the lab workers had seen hints of something odd in his body -- ethylene glycol -- the stuff that makes up antifreeze.
Perry Thompson: But there was not enough in his system to cause him any serious damage.
But it would turn out that there was a mistake in Randy's Thompson's initial labwork -- a decimal point in the wrong place. The reading was off. Way off.
What looked like a trace amount of antifreeze was now, after retesting, a chart-busting number.
Perry Thompson: They went back and they did the test again and found more than enough to kill him.Murphy: So your son had been poisoned?Perry Thompson: Correct.Murphy: With antifreeze?Perry Thompson: Correct. Ethylene glycol.
The medical examiner now believed Randy Thompson had died of antifreeze poisoning.
Perry Thompson: Who could do this? I mean, who could do this? Who would do this?
The Thompson family was in disbelief.
But now the question was what had killed Glenn Turner?
Authorities ordered that his body be exhumed.
Glenn's brother James who'd given that prescient wedding toast that it felt more like a funeral, six years after his brother's death, found himself watching as they dug up the remains.
James, Glenn Turner's brother: I was in my vehicle up on the hill. I wanted to be there to see it but I didn't want to be part of it.
This time the lab confirmed that the byproducts of ethylene glycol --antifreeze -- were in his body.
The authorities now believed Glenn Turner had been poisoned with antifreeze too.
Linda Hardy, Glenn Turner's sister: That's what it was the whole time and they never checked for it.Murphy: When you heard there was antifreeze in your brother, too, what was your reaction?James Thompson: That she had gotten away with murder twice.
The two families agreed to a sit-down meeting.
James Thompson: It was amazing to, how everything just fit together like a little puzzle.
Two young men from similar backgrounds. It was amazing, the similarities between the two. Public service work. The way they looked even.
Lynn, who liked men with uniforms, cemented her claim on both with lavish presents like expensive boots. The double life, married to one but seeing the other. She had an almost preoccupation with insurance matters.
And most of all the flu-like illnesses of both that preceded a sudden death from heart failure.
At the end of that grueling day, the families had put together an awful picture.
Nita, Randy Thompson's mother: Disbelief, dismay, shock. I don’t even think you can put a word to it.Kathy, Glenn Turner's mother: It was awesome just to see them accepting it now.Murphy: At the end of that meeting did you all believe as grieving parents that Lynn had killed your sons?Kathy Turner: Yes, we did. It wasn't no time at all that we realized what had happened.
And the authorities agreed. Lynn Turner was charged with the murder of her husband Glenn -- accused of poisoning him with antifreeze.
A second charge for killing Randy Thompson, the father of her children, would have to wait until the first trial was over.
The police chief who'd worked quietly behind the scenes cajoling his colleagues to dig into the case was satisfied they finally had an indictment. Murder just made him mad.
Mike Edwards, police chief: I can understand family disturbances. I can understand heat of passion. This murder was premeditated. It was cold. It was nasty. It was mean. It was deliberate.
Glenn's buddies, who'd never let go of their suspicions, were eager for the trial to begin.
Don Cawthon, Glenn Turner's best friend: As soon as they came back, without a doubt they said they found the ethylene glycol in Glenn. I said we got her. She ain’t going nowhere.
And what a trial it would be, the woman quickly dubbed the "Black Widow" -- innocent until and unless -- proven guilty.
The juicy story of Lynn Turner and the two dead men in her life had become so much the buzz around town in the three years since Randy Thompson died that after a few days of trying to find jurors who hadn't formed an opinion on the case, the judge moved the trial to a small town in the middle of Georgia.
The Cobb county district attorney, Patrick Head, wasn't entirely surprised -- he'd tried his share of murders and even he had never seen a case anything like this one.
Murphy: The weapon of choice here made this a very distinctive case, didn't it?Patrick Head, Cobb county district attorney: It did.Murphy: Had you ever seen it before? Head: NoMurphy: Death by gun? Death by knife? But death by antifreeze?Head: Not in this state.
It was such a bizarre weapon that the prosecutor won a key victory before the jury heard from its first witness.
Lynn Turner was being tried for the murder of her husband, Glenn, man number one, but the judge ruled that even though she hadn't yet been charged with the murder of Randy Thompson, man number two, her pattern was so unique -- it had such a signature -- that the jury would be allowed to hear in intricate detail about the deaths of both Glenn and Randy. It would be like two murder trials in one.
Patrick Head, Cobb county district attorney, at the trial’s opening: This case is about lust, greed and murder. It’s about one woman and two men. The evidence will show that there is one link, there is one thread, there is one common denominator, and it's this woman, Julia Lynn Womack Turner.
Now the jury would hear in graphic detail about extreme romance Lynn Turner-style...
The Turner and Thompson family and friends would tell their tales of Lynn's full-court press pursuit of Glenn and Randy. They couldn't forget her ice-box chilly demeanor at the funerals and the laser-beam focus on the insurance policies.
But a nagging and common-sense question the prosecutor had to answer was -- how could she get two smart men -- both of whom had worked in law enforcement of all things -- to swallow antifreeze and not have a clue that something was off?
The first tip was something Lynn had told his fellow officers the day she found Glenn dead in bed.
Officer: I recall her saying that he had got up to get something to eat, I think she said Jell-O and crackers, and then he like came in the bedroom and laid down.
Jell-O? Could Lynn Turner -- who knew her way around a car engine -- know that she could put antifreeze in Jell-O.
Murphy: It doesn't seem to make sense that antifreeze would work with Jell-O.Head: It's meant to keep things from freezing. It doesn't have anything in it to affect the gelling process.
The Cobb county medical examiner showed the court how it could be done.
Frist: We bought some lime Jell-O and mixed it with the appropriate amount of water. Then we added to that 33 cc's of antifreeze. You can see that the Jell-O set up the way the way you would expect Jell-O to set up. To me, it just looked like Jell-O.
But still, wouldn't someone who was eating food laced with antifreeze taste it, spit it out ... know that something wasn't right?
So much so the medical examiner turned himself into his own human lab rat, and put some antifreeze in his sweet tea.
Lawyer: Did you take any precautions afterwards?Medical examiner: I rinsed my mouth.
But if Lynn Turner was a murderer -- how much would she have to get these two big guys to ingest to actually kill them?
According to the experts -- not much, about half of a glass.
If you received several dose of 20 ml, could that have the same effect if given over a two or three day period?
Still how could the prosecutor be so certain that antifreeze was even in these two men?
Glenn Turner had been buried for six years before they exhumed his body but the prosecution's witnesses testified that when they put his tissue samples under a microscope they saw what they considered the tell-tale sign: calcium oxylate crystals, the byproducts of ethylene glycol, a substance, they testified, that can only be produced by the body while it is still alive.
But if those signs of ethylene glycol, antifreeze, were so clearly in Glenn Turner’s body -- how could the medical examiner have missed it during the first autopsy?
It turns out he didn't, but at the time he dismissed the crystal sighting as irrelevant.
The doctor also told the court he'd never autopsied anyone who'd died from antifreeze poisoning. For him, it was a first.
And the scientists said, when they put Randy Thompson's tissue slides under the microscope they saw what they considered the same unmistakable signs of ethylene glycol poisoning.
Perry Thompson: He had examined these tissue slides, and in his examination had found small crystals that glowed under a special light we used under the microscope. Just lit up like a Christmas tree.
It was a finding the lab had missed when they did an initial test on a blood sample because of a simple, but now unmistakable, math error -- a decimal point in the wrong place.
Murphy: Two dead men in the same woman's life both dead with traces of this ethylene glycol?Head: Correct. What you have is this presence of a substance in their body that there should be zero. Ethylene glycol is never produced naturally in the body.
But if, as the prosecutor believed, she'd killed both Glenn and Randy -- why?
Early in the investigation they called in Georgia Bureau of Investigation criminal profiler Ralph Stone to help answer that question: If Lynn Turner committed these murders -- why would she do it?
In his opinion, from studying her pattern, she was a classic sociopath.
Ralph Stone, criminal profiler: This was a person who doesn't have the emotional feelings that we do of right versus wrong. Murphy: There's no guilt that goes with it?Stone: That's right. They just delight in being able to control, manipulate. It's all about them, what they want and so they've already decided what they want and what they expect to get out of this. And when they do, they use you up. Push you aside and go on to somebody else.Head: One of the main things Lynn Turner wanted was the insurance pay out. I think it was just greed. She wanted the money.
The prosecutor would tell the jury -- that Lynn Turner, a black belt shopper -- was drowning in debt.
She made just under $33,000 a year at her administrative job at the courthouse, but had rung up hefty credit card bills as well as 33 insufficient fund charges from the bank.
Attorney: Did Mrs. Turner have insufficient funds fees on her checking account?Clerk: Yes.Attorney: Did she overdraw on her premium line account?Clerk: Yes.
Three weeks before Randy died, a bank clerk testified that Lynn had told her she would take care of the overdraft fees.
Clerk: She came into just to check her balances and then she told me she would take care of the accounts soon.
But the defense was about to have its turn... and they said nothing about the prosecution's case made sense, not the science, not the money-as-greed-motive, nothing.
Even though Lynn Turner was one common link between these two young men's sudden deaths it didn't mean she was the killer.
Defense attorney Jimmy Berry had a lot to answer for when it came to Lynn Turner and the two dead men in her life.
But hadn't the prosecution made simply way too much of perfectly normal behavior?
Take those presents Lynn bought Glenn and Randy.
And why was it really so suspicious that she left the house the day Glenn died? After all, even the E.R. doc who took care of him had called it the flu.
And, likewise, was it really all that unusual that she wasn't weepy at Glenn and Randy's funerals?
It was the defense's theme: not all that strange how Lynn responded when you broke down the components of the case against her, like her supposed obsession with insurance. Some might call it prudent.
The defense attorney also told the jury that Lynn Turner wasn't on the brink of financial collapse.
Then the defense toyed with some of the prosecution's own characterization of Lynn Turner as this cunning “Black Widow.”
If she were as smart and calculating, as they implied, then how do you explain the facts that make her look just plain stupid?
Take the insurance? She walked away with only a $35,000 payout after Randy Thompson died. A smart killer, her lawyer said, would have checked to make sure that Thompson's $200,000 insurance policy hadn't lapsed.
Berry: If you're gonna kill somebody for the money and you're supposed to be this planning, scheming, black widow person, but you're not even going to check to see if he's got a policy? Doesn't make sense.Murphy: She's a pretty bright woman, knows her way around paperwork, she works in the D.A.'s office? Berry: Sure, she is very organized and she knew how to get things done. So this is the kind of person that if she was planning to kill somebody she's gonna know exactly what she's killing them for.
And if -- as the prosecutor said -- money was "the" motive her defense attorney said she wouldn't have been with two guys with public-service paychecks to begin with.
Berry: This is not a woman that married Donald Trump to kill him and make a lot of money. Nor did she look for someone who had a lot of money. Randy Thompson didn't have any money.Murphy: So you're saying if you're going to resort to murder and money is the motive, you at least ought to do it for bigger money?Berry: You ought certainly to do it for more money.
And perhaps most interesting of all -- Berry said if Lynn Turner was the razor-sharp killer the prosecutor portrayed, wouldn't she have covered her back by destroying the evidence?
Murphy: Glenn was Lynn's husband. Could she have ordered the cremation of his body?Berry: She could have. If you cremated the body then none of the evidence that they were able to show during the trial of this case could have been used.
And the evidence that remained were those crystals the prosecution charged were left behind after she poisoned the men with antifreeze.
In the case of Glenn, the defense asked, if there were byproducts from ethylene glycol in his body where did it come from?
The night before he died when he was crashing about the house could he have picked up a bottle of antifreeze -- not gasoline -- and drank that instead?
Could it have come from the embalming fluid?
While witnesses testified that the kind of embalming fluid used in Glenn did not contain ethylene glycol, it turns out the records at that the funeral home were destroyed.
Murphy: So you're saying another possible explanation here are the chemicals used by the undertaker -- the embalming fluids?Berry: Sure. The records were destroyed according to their testimony as to exactly what was used.
To defense attorney Berry, the medical examiner had it right the first time he did the autopsy -- Glenn Turner died from an enlarged heart, and "if" there were signs of ethylene glycol left behind in his body there were other possible explanations for it.
Berry: The problem with Glenn's case is number one, they didn't prove that death was caused by ethylene glycol. Number two they didn't prove that Lynn got him to ingest any ethylene glycol. If you look at the slides there are not that many crystals and they are not to the same degree as they are in Randy Thompson.
But then what about Randy Thompson? Even the defense attorney didn't dispute that he likely died from antifreeze poisoning. Berry's argument?
Randy Thompson drank it himself.
Berry: Here's a guy that's going through a lot of problems and he's attempted suicide before.
And his friends had to admit that all was not well in Randy's life. He was behind on child support payments for his first son, stuck in a rocky relationship with Lynn, even his truck was about to be repossessed.
a: Yes, sometimes we all do.Murphy: Was Randy Thompson suicidal?Berry: I think he was. Why is it unreasonable to believe that somebody that attempted it before would not attempt it again?
And Berry pointed out to the jurors that even Randy's closest friends thought he overdosed on pills that weekend.
To defense attorney Berry, Randy Thompson's third suicide attempt had worked.
Berry: Even when his friends came over and he was sick that day, the first thing they did is they went through the house and threw away all the drugs because they were afraid he was attempting suicide again, and they didn't want him to lose his job.
And Lynn Turner’s mother took the stand to tell the jury that her daughter was being flat out misunderstood -- Lynn wasn't cold, just private.
Attorney: Would you describe your daughter an emotional person?Helen, Lynn Turner's mother: No, she is not.Attorney: What do you mean by that?Helen: She just does not show openly her feelings or her emotions. It's all done privately.Attorney: Now on that occasion at the funeral home, Glenn's body was lying inside, right?Helen: That's correct.Attorney: Did it strike you as unusual that Lynn didn't go in with Glenn's family?Helen: No, not at all because I have four brothers that passed away, my mother-in-law passed away, and she would never come into a room with a body.
But now it was up to the jury to decide whether Lynn Turner was treacherous almost beyond belief...
Or just maybe the victim of a circumstance as rare as getting hit by a bolt of lightening.
In the courthouse a jury would now decide if Lynn Turner had killed her husband Glenn by feeding him antifreeze. If they found her guilty, she faced life in prison.
Defense attorney Jimmy Berry waited nervously...
Berry: You never feel good about a case when the jury goes out. And there's always things that you wish you had said, wish you had done.
Among the jurors, they were a receptionist, a technical writer, an air force supervisor, a retiree, an administrative assistant, a substitute teacher, and a program manager.
After two weeks of testimony, they were finally allowed to talk about the case.
In the jury room the foreman looked for common ground.
John: We all believed she was innocent and we challenged the prosecution to prove that she was guilty. Dennis Murphy, Dateline correspondent: The state told you she poisoned him.Mildred: Right.Murphy: You said prove it.Mildred: Right.Allen: She was innocent until proven guilty. So most of the time it was “Mr. Prosecutor, prove to me she did it.” True, she had a boyfriend.Murphy: That make her a killer?Allen: No. Divorce him. True she was in debt. Okay, file bankruptcy.Murphy: Not persuasive arguments from the prosecutor for you.Allen: A lot of his evidence just added questions and added questions.
And one of the hardest questions they had to answer was the sheer implausibility of it all. Would Lynn Turner, a pretty mother of two, and former 911 dispatcher, actually kill two men with antifreeze?
Darryl: That's hard to imagine that anyone would do that.
They all agreed, however, that she was guilty of cheating on Glenn and of running up sky-high credit card bills, but, still, did that make her a murderer?
Murphy: Fair to call her a wife from hell or is that too harsh?Darryl: I wouldn't say that is too harsh, no.Tracy: No morals-type person is the way I'd look at her. Murphy: Did that make her a killer?Linda: No sir.
And the jurors decided they could look beyond some of the other issues the prosecution had made a big deal about -- like her stand-offish demeanor at the funeral.
Darryl: It was strange but I didn't hold it against herTracy: I know when my grandmother died I didn't go in. Just, there are a lot of people like that. They want to remember them as they were, not as they are then.
But some jurors were bothered by how she seemed to speed-dial the insurance company as soon as she heard Glenn and Randy were dead.
Mildred: I think she was rather pushy. Even though I know that once someone is deceased you immediately want to begin looking at what kind of finances there are. You have arrangements to make, you have family. Life goes on. But I think that she was just a little bit too ambitious and eager to bring the finances to bare.
But as they continued to talk, it was the science that really got their attention -- those calcium oxylate crystals in Glenn Turner’s body.
The crystals the prosecution experts had told them came from ethylene glycol -- what we call antifreeze.
Murphy: So the smoking gun is the crystals.Jurors: Yes.
The jurors dismissed the defense attorney's theory that ethylene glycol could have somehow gotten into Glenn's body after he was already dead.
John: The only way that the oxalate crystals can form in the kidneys is through metabolism in the digestive track.Murphy: So a person has to be alive to produce the crystals?John: Right.
But as much as the judge allowed them to consider the circumstances around Randy Thompson's dying, this decision would only be on the death of Glenn Turner.
After almost five hours of deliberations the reading of the verdict was at hand.
Verdict: We the jury, find the defendant, Julia Lynn Womack Turner, guilty of malice murder as alleged in count one of the indictment, so rendered.
Lynn Turner, guilty of killing her husband with antifreeze, didn't flinch. She calmly took off her earrings as the marshals came to lead her away.
Linda Hardy: She didn't care. It was no big deal to her. No big deal. And I thought that I was gonna be liked excited and jump for joy. I didn't. It didn't change a thing. It still hurts. It'll never quit hurting.
On the anniversary of his death, Linda, friends and other family members gathered at Glenn's graveside to cry, laugh a little and share some stories about the man they loved.
This year would mark the tenth anniversary of Glenn's death -- a decade since that fateful day -- and the first time they could find comfort in knowing that a judge had sentenced Lynn Turner to life in prison.
Kathy Turner: Justice has been served and I can do nothing but praise the lord for that. I want to say thank you all for your prayers.
Lynn Turner was recently indicted for the murder of Randy Thomspon. Prosecutors have asked for the death penalty in that case. She has plead not guilty. A trial date has not been set.
She is also appealing the murder conviction for the death of her husband Glenn.