Putting antifreeze killers on ice

By James Quiggle
May 1, 2004
The painful symptoms were eerily similar: a sudden flu-like illness that drove police officer Glenn Turner and firefighter Randy Thompson to the hospital.

The tragic results were the same: Both men soon died after falling sick.

Glenn and Randy also had another link: Lynn Turner. She poisoned both men with anti-freeze to collect on their life-insurance policies.

Glenn, a Cobb County police officer, was admitted to a hospital emergency room near Perry, Ga. in 1995, complaining of flu-like symptoms—vomiting and severe headaches. He received IVs of fluids and was soon released, saying he felt better. But Glenn suddenly died in agony the next day, alone in their home. Investigators thought Glenn had died of heart failure, and his body was laid to rest.

That seemed to be the end of his case. The former 911 dispatcher collected about $100,000 in life-insurance money and went on with her life.

But Lynn was having an affair with Randy, a Forsyth County firefighter, when Glenn died. Lynn and Randy remained together for more than five years until strangely he died from the same flu-like symptoms in 2001. She collected $36,000 from his life-insurance policy.

Large doses of antifreeze

But an autopsy found uncommon amounts of the key chemical in antifreeze in his kidneys. Suspicious over the sudden deaths of both men, investigators then exhumed Glenn’s body and found large doses of the same chemical.

Antifreeze is an odorless, sweet-tasting liquid that can easily be slipped into someone’s food or drink. It only takes about three ounces to prove fatal.

There was too much antifreeze in both men to be coincidental, and Lynn soon found herself fighting criminal charges in court. First came Glenn’s case. The evidence was largely circumstantial, but the large antifreeze residue was convincing. So was the fact that both of her lovers had suddenly died from the same apparent poisoning.

Other telltale clues added up well. Lynn showed little concern for Glenn’s wellbeing during his brief hospital stay, a nurse testified at her trial. Lynn also badgered Glenn to switch his $100,000 life policy to make her the beneficiary instead of his mother. And soon before Glenn died, she’d gone to a local animal shelter to inquire how antifreeze poisoning affects cats. She also called the insurer the day after his funeral to ask about her benefits, and ran off with Thompson on vacation just weeks after the funeral.

Lynn received life in prison in 2004.

Similarities convince jury

Then she went on trial for killing Randy. The startling similarity between how both men died helped convince the jury. Lynn received life without parole in March 2007.

Both Randy’s and Glenn’s families grew close during the trials, bonded by a shared tragedy. Glenn’s father Perry felt similar pangs for Turner’s parents. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to them. It’s a sad situation for everybody,” he said.

Lynn Turner wasn’t alone with antifreeze malice. In a similar case, Marguerite Bork killed husband Terrance by slipping antifreeze into his drink when they visited his mother. The Ava, N.Y. woman wanted his $342,000 life-insurance payout, and was upset that Terrance was having an affair.

He died after being rushed to the hospital the morning after the fatal family visit.

Suspicion quickly focused on Marguerite. Aside from the large insurance windfall, initially she also refused to allow an autopsy, and didn’t appear upset after he died or at his funeral. She also had no job or money. A jury took less than three hours to convict her. She stood to receive 25 years to life in prison when sentenced in May 2007.

Antifreeze helps keep engines from freezing over, but poisoning with it put two killers on ice.

View previous "Fraud Cases of the Month"

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