The Black Widow Killer

Two men. Two murders. Too many questions.

By Alanna Nash from Reader's Digest | November 2005

Mike Archer, Glenn Turner’s former sergeant, was temporarily working at a car dealership at the time of Randy’s death. He was mightily surprised to discover that Lynn had phoned the lot one afternoon asking to borrow an automobile to attend her boyfriend’s funeral. Mike got in touch with Kathy Turner. “Now I know what I’m talking about,” he said excitedly. “She did both of ‘em, I guarantee you!”

Kathy knew it in her gut too. But, “I kept saying to Mike, ‘What in the world can I do?’ I didn’t know what to do.”

Glenn’s friends did. They started calling police departments. “Get on the phone,” Archer told Donald Cawthon. “I’m calling Forsyth [County]. You call Cobb [County], and let’s raise some hell. She’s killed two now! They’ve got to listen to us!”

Meanwhile, Kathy got in touch with Randy Thompson’s mother, Nita. The two women, along with the Rat Pack, helped inspire Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Jane Hansen to write a series of articles about the similarities surrounding the men’s deaths. Lynn Turner wasn’t just the romantic link, Hansen wrote; she was their messenger of death. She was, as one expert described her in the story, “the black widow.”

The press coverage helped lead to a re-evaluation of Randy’s autopsy results. A forensic pathologist from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation found in his kidney tissues a significant amount of calcium oxalate crystals, a telltale signature of ethylene glycol poisoning. In laymen’s terms, Randy had been pickled in antifreeze, the very substance in the 1995 police photograph taken in Glenn’s basement.

Detectives now mounted a homicide investigation. In July 2001, officials exhumed Glenn’s body and tested for ethylene glycol. The findings confirmed what many had suspected: He had also been poisoned with antifreeze. Lynn had likely administered the sweet, odorless substance over a period of days in Jell-O, tea and soup.

Lynn turner was charged with the murder of Glenn Turner in November 2002, and stood trial for his death alone in 2004, although the court allowed the prosecution to introduce “similar transaction evidence,” bringing in Thompson’s death. That meant that jurors heard about the similarity of Randy’s demise, though Lynn had yet to be charged with the crime.

The former 911 dispatcher — who sat stone faced through most of the trial but bragged to reporters that she’d go free — was found guilty and sentenced to life. Said Cobb County DA Patrick Head, “If she hadn’t done it twice, she would have gotten away with it.”

In October 2004, Lynn Turner was indicted for Thompson’s death, but a trial date has not been set. If found guilty, she could get the death penalty.

Retired Georgia criminal profiler Ralph Stone says Lynn’s a psychopath. “She gets along with people by faking normal emotion. Did she do this because of financial reward? It’s much deeper than that, as if she wanted
to say, ‘They tell me I’m not smart enough to be a cop. Well, I’m smarter than the police. They’ll never figure this out.’”

Each year, the Rat Pack gathers at Glenn’s grave. David Dunkerton, who says he’ll never have a partner like Glenn again, had a new tattoo on his arm last time — that of St. Michael, the patron saint of police. Glenn’s old badge number is in the design.
“That’s to show how much he means to me,” says Dunkerton. “This was a sweetheart of a guy who fell in love with a she-devil. And she’ll ultimately pay when she meets her maker.”