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Julia Lynn TURNER






A.K.A.: "Antifreeze Killer"
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Poisoner - To collect insurance money
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: March 3, 1995 / January 22, 2001
Date of arrest: November 1, 2002
Date of birth: July 13, 1968
Victims profile: Her husband, police officer Maurice Glenn Turner, 31 / Her boyfriend, firefighter Randy Thompson, 32
Method of murder: Poisoning (ethelyn glycol, the active ingredient in antifreeze)
Location: Cobb County/Forsyth County, Georgia, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole on March 27, 2007. Turner was found dead in prison on August 30, 2010. (Much speculation remains as to whether her death was suicide, or perhaps due to an accidental overdose of prescription blood pressure medication)

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Lynn Turner (July 13, 1968 – August 30, 2010), born Julia Lynn Womack, was an American woman and convicted murderer.

Starting in 1995, her first husband, Glenn Turner, allegedly died of natural causes after being apparently sick with the flu. Six years later in 2001, the death of her second husband, Randy Thompson, under remarkably similar circumstances aroused the suspicion of law enforcement. After investigation, it was determined by authorities that Lynn Turner had murdered both her husbands by poisoning them with antifreeze.

She was arrested ten months later after her second husband's death and was tried for Glenn Turner's murder in 2004. She was found guilty and went to trial again for murdering Randy Thompson in 2007 and was also convicted. Turner died in prison on August 30, 2010. The cause of death was an apparent suicide by toxic overdose of blood pressure medication.


In 1995, Lynn Turner, then 27, murdered her husband, Cobb County, Georgia, police officer Maurice Glenn Turner, age 31. Glenn Turner went to the emergency room on March 2, 1995, complaining of flu-like symptoms. He was treated there and when he felt better, he went home. The next day, he was found dead when Lynn came home.

On January 22, 2001, she killed her boyfriend, Forsyth County firefighter Randy Thompson, age 32. She had been having an affair with Thompson at the time of her husband's murder. Thompson reported to the emergency room complaining of a stomach ache and constant vomiting. He was treated and released on January 21. She made him some Jell-O. By the next day, he was dead. She collected around $153,000 in death benefits for her husband's death and $36,000 in her boyfriend's death.

According to a Georgia Department of Corrections website, Turner was serving a life sentence at Metro State Prison. She faced the death penalty for the 2001 murder of Randy Thompson but she was instead sentenced to life in prison without parole.


Turner was found dead in prison on August 30, 2010. Much speculation remains as to whether her death was suicide, or perhaps due to an accidental overdose of prescription blood pressure medication. An episode of Murder She Solved on the Oprah Winfrey Network stated that she intentionally accumulated enough prescription medication to cause an overdose.


Turner's case has been profiled on many different television programs. Her case first aired on Forensic Files in 2007 in an episode entitled Cold Hearted. Her case aired on season six of Snapped on the Oxygen Network that year, and three programs on the Investigation Discovery network: Deadly Women, Main Street Mysteries, and Motives and Murders. On July 18, 2012, the ABC show Final Witness told the story from the perspective of her first husband, in an episode entitled Vixen's Elixer.


Antifreeze Killer Lynn Turner Dies in Prison

By Edecio Martinez -

August 31, 2010

ATLANTA (CBS/AP) Lynn Turner, the 42-year-old woman who fatally poisoned her husband and later her boyfriend with antifreeze, died Monday at a state prison where she was serving a life sentence, prison officials said.

She was found "unresponsive" Monday in her cell at Metro State Prison and could not be revived, said Sharmelle Brooks of the Georgia Department of Corrections.

The former 911 operator from north Georgia was convicted in 2004 of killing her husband, police officer Glenn Turner, in 1995. Authorities first thought he died of natural causes, but reopened the investigation in 2001 after her boyfriend, firefighter Randy Thompson, was found to have been poisoned.

Lynn Turner's mother, Helen Gregory, said she and Turner's two children, ages 12 and 14, had just visited her at the prison Sunday. Gregory said her daughter seemed fine physically, but was concerned for her safety.

The warden told Gregory that Turner was found dead in bed inside the cell she shared with several other inmates.

"As I started to leave her yesterday, she said, 'Momma, those girls are going to get me. I just know they will,'" Gregory said.

According to CNN, Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman John Bankhead said an autopsy revealed no indication of foul play in Turner's death, though the cause will not be determined until toxicology and other tests are done.

Penny Penn, the Forsyth County district attorney who tried Turner in 2007, called her death "the final chapter in what has been a very long and very sad, albeit fascinating, story."

Penn had sought the death penalty, but jurors chose a life sentence. Prosecutors said Turner killed the men to profit from their life insurance policies.

Prosecutors said both men were poisoned with ethylene glycol, a sweet but odorless chemical in antifreeze. During Turner's 2004 trial, prosecutors suggested the substance could have been placed in foods such as Jell-O.


Lynn Turner's death still leaves questions, scars

By Marcus K. Garner, Dan Raley - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

August 30, 2010

Lynn Turner’s victims died mysteriously, without warning or ready cause.

On Monday, the same thing happened to the two-time convicted killer.

Turner, 42, was found unresponsive in her cell at Metro State Prison just before 7 a.m. and declared dead 40 minutes later. An autopsy later in the day couldn't determine what killed her, though foul play was ruled out. Brought to a sudden and curious end was this multi-faceted crime story that riveted metro Atlanta for much of a decade and drew national headlines, one centered a woman characterized as this cold and calculating person who had got away with murder once, but not twice.

The former 911 operator was serving life sentences for the fatal antifreeze poisonings of Glenn Turner, her husband, in 1995 and Randy Thompson, her boyfriend and the father of her two children, in 2001. She was spared the death penalty, but didn't live more than three years beyond her second conviction.

“I think she just didn't have anything to live for," Kathy Turner, the woman's mother-in-law, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It comes around, doesn’t it?"

Juries had determined that Turner, described by those who knew her as attractive and personable, had killed a Cobb County police officer and a Forsyth County firefighter for nothing more than money, for their life insurance policies and pensions totaling $200,000, miscalculating she would receive double that.

While the Georgia Bureau of Investigation couldn't provide an immediate cause of death, and will need toxicology tests to determine an eventual one, relatives of the two deceased men suggested Turner's death likely was self-inflicted. Authorities could not confirm this is what happened.

"If she committed suicide, all she’s doing is telling the world that she’s guilty," said Nita Thompson, the mother of Turner's second victim.

Although the Glenn Turner and Randy Thompson never met, lived in different counties and died six years apart, their deaths were identical. Both men came down with flu symptoms. They went to hospitals for fluids and treatment. They received medicine that provided temporary relief and then they became violently ill. Medical examiners ruled irregular heartbeats had killed each man. Police investigations found out otherwise, looking closer at now two suspicious deaths and discovering both had ingested antifreeze, likely slipped to them in sweet tea or soup or something else.

Convictions three years apart came next for Turner, the last one in 2007. Again, money was the motivation.

Witnesses from Turner's first trial testified that she had collected more than $140,000 in insurance benefits and $700 per month from her husband's police pension after he died.

In the second trial, evidence was presented that Turner had received $36,000 from an insurance payout and had hoped to cash in on another policy worth $200,000 that named her as the beneficiary, but it had lapsed. When arrested, Turner was still in financial straits, which prosecutors said conceivably could have led to yet another murder.

"I don't think it's unreasonable to think there might have been a third victim," said Penny Penn, Forsyth County district attorney. "With anything, the more you do it, the easier it gets. You get emboldened. By locking her up, you could argue other people were protected."

Turner, who lost an appeal to overturn her first conviction, was still appealing the second.

"We had an open case," Penn said. "In that regard, we can close it."

Turner's death brought closure for some, not for others.

Kathy Turner didn't want to hear that Lynn Turner still trying to defend herself, and got her wish.

"I’m glad I will never have to see her in court again," the former mother-in-law said.

"There’s never really any closure," said Brandie McNeal, Thompson's sister. "My brother’s gone."

Turner’s last team of trial lawyers, Jimmy Berry and Vic Reynolds, hadn’t spoken with their former client for nearly a year and a half. They learned of the woman’s death after receiving a morning phone call from one of her family members.

“It just seems to be a tragic ending to a tragedy,” Reynolds said. “There were a lot of good folks affected by it. The Turner family and Thompson family were all good folks, and Lynn’s family was a decent, salt-of-the-earth type of family.”

Attorney Don Samuel, who represented Turner in an unsuccessful appeal of her first conviction, described her as a bright and pleasant person, as someone who was firmly dedicated to her defense and maintained her innocence. He read about her death on

“I was very sad to see it,” Samuel said. “It was the most unusual case.”

The Turner murder trials, in fact, were so different they’ve drawn plenty of attention from the myriad cable TV channels that offer crime shows. Penn, the Forsyth County lead prosecutor, has done interviews for Investigation Discovery’s “Forensic Files,” Oxygen’s “Snapped” and most recently Discovery’s “Deadly Women.” She was told the latter show wouldn’t be broadcast until early next year.

“They’ll have to edit it now, won’t they?” Penn said.

Staff writer Christian Boone contributed to this article.

Lynn Turner Timeline

Aug. 21, 1993: Cobb County police Officer Maurice Glenn Turner marries Julia Lynn Womack.

March 3, 1995: Glenn Turner, 31, is discovered dead in bed by his wife. A Cobb medical examiner rules he died from an irregular heartbeat.

Jan. 30, 1996: Lynn Turner gives birth to a daughter. She has lived with the father, firefighter Randy Thompson, since four days after her husband's death.

Jan. 22, 2001: Randy Thompson, 32, is found dead in his Cumming apartment. A GBI medical examiner later rules he died from an irregular heartbeat.

June 22, 2001: Cobb police begin investigating Glenn Turner's death as a possible homicide. Cumming police begin a probe into Thompson's death and call in the GBI for assistance.

July 30, 2001: The GBI announces it has changed Thompson's cause of death to antifreeze poisoning. It is later ruled a homicide. Cobb officials exhume Turner's body to test for poisons.

Oct. 17, 2001: The Cobb medical examiner announces a second autopsy shows Turner died of ethylene glycol poisoning.

June 27, 2002: Cobb medical examiner Dr. Brian Frist rules Glenn Turner's death a homicide.

Nov. 1, 2002: Lynn Turner is arrested and charged with the murder of Glenn Turner.

Feb. 2, 2004: Jury selection begins in Marietta in Lynn Turner's first trial.

Feb. 4, 2004: Unable to seat an impartial jury in Marietta, a judge orders Turner's trial moved. The case is moved to Houston County.

May 14, 2004: A Houston County jury returns a guilty verdict against Turner in the murder of Glenn Turner.

Jan. 8, 2007: Jury selection begins in Forsyth County in Turner's second murder trial.

Jan. 16, 2007: Judge Jeffrey S. Bagley orders the trial moved out of Forsyth County because of difficulty seating an impartial jury. The trial is ordered moved to Dalton, in northwest Georgia's Whitfield County, but the location is kept a secret until Feb. 14, when the AJC publishes its location.

March 24, 2007: A jury in Whitfield County finds Turner guilty of murdering Randy Thompson.

March 27, 2007: Jurors give Turner life in prison with no chance of parole.

Aug. 30, 2010: Turner is found unresponsive in her cell at Metro State Prison in Atlanta at 6:55 a.m. Prison medical staff are unable to revive her and she is pronounced dead 40 minutes later.


The Black Widow Killer

Two men. Two murders. Too many questions.

By Alanna Nash from Reader's Digest

November 2005

Call it a mother’s intuition.

When a medical examiner reported the cause of death for Glenn Turner, 31, his mom, Kathy, refused to accept the findings. An outgoing police officer for Cobb County, Georgia, Glenn had no known health problems. In fact, he was strong as an ox; eight years before his March 3, 1995, death, Glenn had survived a near-fatal motorcycle wreck, waking from a coma and returning to his job a few weeks later.

The coroner said Glenn, found dead by Lynn, his wife of 19 months, had an irregular heartbeat and an enlarged heart. “He never had any such thing that I knew about,” said Kathy. But in the days before his death, Glenn had severe flu-like symptoms, among them vomiting and diarrhea. He missed three days from work, and was admitted to Kennestone Hospital’s ER, where he was given intravenous fluids and medications, then released.

Lynn told Glenn’s friends that her husband had returned to their Marietta, Georgia, home and taken a bizarre turn for the worse, waking after midnight. He was hallucinating, she said, trying “to jump off the balcony because he thought he could fly.” He went down to the basement, where he tried to drink gasoline, Lynn said. She helped him back upstairs and the following morning, when he was feeling better, served him Jell-O.

A few hours later, Lynn returned from running errands and found Glenn’s lifeless body, wrapped in blankets, on the bed in the guest room where he’d been sleeping recently. When a detective arrived, Lynn told him what had happened and took him to the basement, where he photographed the gasoline can, and, next to it, a large blue container of antifreeze.

Julia Lynn Womack Turner was adopted as an infant by Helen Womack, a legal secretary, and her husband. The couple were so happy to have a child they spoiled her beyond reason, buying her expensive toys and clothes. But when Lynn was five, Helen divorced and raised her daughter on her own until remarrying some years later. There were tensions between Lynn and her stepfather, D.L. Gregory. And as a young teenager, Lynn’s problems grew: She was admitted to an Atlanta drug clinic for treatment.

Surprisingly, in her early 20s Lynn began pursuing a job in law enforcement. She went to work as a 911 operator and also took a civilian position with an undercover narcotics unit in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Outside of work, she hung around with cops, spending time clubbing, hot-tubbing and shooting pool. It was at the apartment of a suburban Atlanta patrolman, where a group of officers had gathered before a night out dancing, that Lynn met Glenn.

Shortly after their 1991 introduction, Lynn, then 22, began relentlessly pursuing Glenn, buying him such items as exotic snakeskin cowboy boots and tickets to sporting events. Glenn’s friends thought it strange that this shapely and attractive brunette with aspirations for the high life would be attracted to their middle-class buddy, whom they nicknamed “Buddha” because of his large build. “I’m sure Glenn didn’t think that he could get that type of woman,” says Silvia Browning, a Roswell, Georgia, police detective. “He felt she wasn’t in his league and that she was a great catch.”

Glenn’s circle of cop friends, who jokingly called themselves the Rat Pack, weren’t so sure. Lynn, from what they saw, was a big spender who always seemed on the make. “She flirted with everybody,” says Glenn’s friend Donald Cawthon. She often seemed to need to be the center of attention.

Lynn also had a brittle temper. Glenn’s sister, Linda Hardy, noticed that Lynn had an ability to “go from being sweet to being hateful within seconds.” To Linda, the only thing the couple seemed to have in common was that they were both NASCAR fans. Lynn had bought herself an expensive pace car similar to one she’d admired at the Daytona 500, and she and Glenn regularly attended the races together.

In 1992, Lynn applied to become a police officer. Fairly athletic, she breezed through the rigorous physical trials but failed the psychological exam. Afterward, she told Glenn that it was humiliating for her to remain as a dispatcher, and began scheming to find a higher-paying and more prestigious position. When nothing turned up, she began regularly calling in sick at work.

Meanwhile, Glenn told his buddies that he was in love and showed them an engagement ring he’d gotten Lynn for Christmas. “He pulled out that little ring box, and I said, ‘Oh, you have lost your damn mind,’” remembers Cawthon.

Two months later, Glenn moved in with Lynn, and the couple set a wedding date for August 1993. Long before then, at his fiancée’s urging, Glenn named Lynn the beneficiary on his insurance policies. When they found out, the Rat Pack were shocked. To this day, they don’t know if Glenn realized that Lynn was facing a world of debt. Her house and car payments nearly amounted to her take-home pay (her annual salary was less than $20,000), and she faced hefty charges for over-the-limit spending on her credit cards and in her checking account.

Glenn’s mother felt funny as the wedding day approached. “Lynn was such a strange girl,” Kathy said.

As if an omen, the couple was unable to light the unity candle during the wedding ceremony. And Glenn’s brother, James, offered a less than cheerful traditional best man’s toast at the reception: “I feel like I’m more at a funeral than a wedding,” he said. “I don’t see this working out, but I hope for the best.” The Rat Pack took bets as to how long the marriage would last.

In fact, the couple’s relationship began to fray even before the honeymoon was over. Lynn was furious that Glenn had booked them on a family cruise, instead of the luxury version. Soon after their return, Glenn complained to his buddies that Lynn was suffering from “female problems” and could no longer participate in their once very active sex life. Six months into the marriage, the two took to sleeping in separate bedrooms.

Still, Glenn catered to his wife. Says his riding partner, David Dunkerton, “He’d call her while we were working and say, ‘Hey, can I bring you something to eat?’ Most of the time she was downright rude to him. He’d hang up and say, ‘Why do I even bother?’”

Lynn continued to spend wildly, buying a Datsun 240Z on a credit card, and booking out-of-town pleasure trips. To keep up with the bills, Glenn, whose salary was in the $26,000 range, began to work an extra job at a gas station. “And still, Lynn put him on a budget the last year of his life,” recalls his sister, Linda. “Twenty bucks a week.”

Finally, he’d had enough. Once dedicated to saving his marriage, Glenn began taking steps toward divorce. Ten days before his death, which occurred on the day he was to move out, Glenn told a friend that Lynn had threatened to shoot him with his service revolver. “If anything happens to me,” he said to Dunkerton, “look at Lynn.”

Kathy Turner was as suspicious as Glenn’s friends were after her son’s death. Scanning the autopsy report, she made a list of questions. At the top: a green substance in Glenn’s stomach at the time of death, which Kathy thought might have been the Jell-O Glenn had been eating while sick. Still, she wanted to have further testing done, but was told that could only be accomplished if she paid for a private autopsy, which would cost several thousand dollars. “I didn’t have that kind of money,” says Kathy, who cleans homes for a living.

When she contacted Glenn’s friends, the guys bitterly complained about how emotionless Lynn seemed at Glenn’s funeral. Several had overheard her saying, “I’ve got to get the hell out of here,” at the funeral home, and spotted her there walking hand-in-hand with another Cobb County officer.

Kathy and the Rat Pack agreed that if foul play was involved in Glenn’s death, Lynn definitely had something to do with it. They decided to talk to as many of the higher-ups as they could, hoping that his death would be further investigated.

What they didn’t know at that point was that four days after Glenn was buried, Lynn rented an apartment, listing one Randy Thompson as “occupant.” Lynn had actually become involved with Randy less than a year after marrying Glenn. As she’d done with Glenn, she aggressively courted Randy, buying him gifts and taking him on a week-long cruise. Randy, a divorced father of one, had no idea his girlfriend was married.

Randy Thompson was a rugged Forsyth County sheriff’s deputy who would eventually become a firefighter. Like Glenn Turner, he was a jocular, kind-spirited man. His sister, Kimberly Savage, an epileptic, remembered how, as a child, she’d once had a seizure on the school bus. Her protective brother had “tried to hide me, because he knew that it bothered me to be seen that way.” When Randy loved, she says, “he loved with his whole heart.”

By most accounts, Lynn was genuinely crazy about Randy, and he was equally smitten. In the summer of 1995, using some $150,000 from Glenn’s insurance benefits, Lynn bought a house for her and Randy. In January 1996 she gave birth to their daughter, Amber. A son, Blake, was born later. Lynn was a good mother, says Randy’s family. Still, she refused to marry Randy.

“He gave her an engagement ring, but she never wore it,” recalls Kimberly. “The reason she gave us was that her fingers were swollen and she couldn’t fit it on her hand. I’m sure it hurt him a lot.”

Some suggested that Lynn resisted because if she married she might no longer be eligible for Glenn’s pension. Meanwhile, by early 1997, Lynn had convinced Randy to name her the beneficiary on his life insurance policy. The following year, at Lynn’s suggestion, he increased the policy amount from $100,000 to $200,000.

By then, their relationship had begun to sour. In 1997, Lynn claimed Randy hit her in the mouth with his fist and charged him with battery — for which he was fined $400 and sentenced to 10 months of probation. Randy, who had gone through a period of heavy drinking following the end of his first marriage, buckled emotionally. “She knew how to push his buttons, and did on a regular basis,” says Kimberly. On two occasions, he took an overdose of pills, hoping if not to die, to get Lynn’s attention. In 1999, he moved out of the house, leaving his girlfriend, as he said, “for his sanity.”

Still, he held out hope for a reconciliation for the sake of the children, then ages 5 and 2. On January 19, 2001, Lynn and Randy got together to talk about working things out. Three days later, Randy died alone on the couch in his apartment. He was 32.

Randy, like Glenn, suffered severe flu-like symptoms, and was able to keep down little but fluids and Jell-O in the days before his death. He sought help at an emergency room, only to become increasingly ill. After returning from the hospital, he was vomiting and gasping for breath. At the worst of it, he called fellow firefighter Paul Adams, who arrived to find his friend amid overturned furniture, disoriented and panicky, asking, “Do you think I’m going to die?”

The next morning, another firefighter, Barry Head, discovered Randy dead, with a blanket pulled around him, exactly the way Glenn Turner had been found. An autopsy cited an irregular heartbeat as the cause.

The day of his burial, Lynn was on the phone to Randy’s insurance company. She was shocked to learn that his $200,000 policy had been canceled months before for nonpayment of premiums. But Lynn was not the only one dialing the phone.

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.”


Georgia Supreme Court


No. S06A1971.

February 26, 2007

Donald F. Samuel, Garland, Samuel & Loeb, P.C., Atlanta, Jimmy Dodd Berry, D. Victor Reynolds, Berry & Reynolds, Marietta, for Appellant.Thurbert E. Baker, Atty. Gen., Edwina M. Watkins, Asst. Atty. Gen., Patrick H. Head, Dist. Atty., Dana J. Norman, Asst. Dist. Atty., for Appellee.

Following a jury trial, Julia Lynn Turner was convicted of malice murder in connection with the poisoning death of her husband, Glenn Turner.   Turner appeals from the denial of her motion for new trial.1  We affirm.

Viewed in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict, the evidence reveals that Turner's husband, Glenn, a Cobb County police officer, died unexpectedly on March 3, 1995.   For several months prior to Glenn's death, he had been having marital problems with Turner, and he confided to two of his close friends and colleagues that, if he ended up dead, Turner probably would have had something to do with it.   As his marital problems with Turner continued, Glenn decided that he would move out of their home on the weekend of March 3, 1995.   A few days before his planned move, however, Glenn became very ill and went to a hospital complaining of nausea and flu-like symptoms.   Glenn was given fluids for dehydration, medicine for his nausea, and discharged.   The next morning, Turner served Glenn green Jell-O, a food that would not show signs of being laced with antifreeze if it contained such a poison.   Turner left Glenn at home after feeding him the Jell-O, and Glenn died within a few hours.   Although Glenn's autopsy revealed signs of antifreeze poisoning, the Cobb County medical examiner concluded at that time that Glenn died of a heart attack.   Soon after Glenn's funeral, Turner collected nearly a quarter of a million dollars from Glenn's estate and from insurance proceeds and death benefits as the primary beneficiary under Glenn's insurance policies.

Four days after Glenn's funeral, Turner moved in with Randy Thompson, a man with whom she had been having an affair prior to her husband's death.   Thompson died six years later.   Three days before Thompson's death, he spent the evening with Turner and had dinner with her.   A few hours later, he became violently ill, and the next day he went to the emergency room with complaints of flu-like symptoms.   Thompson was treated for his symptoms and discharged from the hospital.   The following night, Turner fed him Jell-O, and Thompson was found dead the next morning.   Turner, who had been incurring substantial debt prior to Thompson's death, collected over $30,000 as the beneficiary under Thompson's life insurance policy.

A Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) toxicologist studied urine and blood samples from Thompson and discovered the presence of ethylene glycol, a poisonous substance found in antifreeze.   When further tests confirmed the presence of antifreeze in Thompson's body, a GBI medical examiner determined the cause of Thompson's death to be ethylene glycol toxicity, a rare type of poisoning typically caused from the ingestion of antifreeze.   After learning that Turner's husband had also died unexpectedly a few years earlier, the medical examiner ordered slides of the husband's kidneys, which revealed the same signs of antifreeze poisoning that were present in Glenn's first autopsy.   Cobb County authorities then exhumed Glenn's body and additional tests were performed that confirmed the presence of ethylene glycol in Glenn's tissues.   The Cobb County medical examiner revised Glenn's death certificate to show that the cause of death was ethylene glycol toxicity rather than heart-related disease.   Thereafter, Turner was charged with murdering her husband.

1. Turner contends that the trial court erred in admitting into evidence the death of Randy Thompson as a similar transaction.   Turner claims that, because there was no logical connection between the alleged murders of Thompson and her husband, the trial court could not admit evidence of the Thompson murder for the proper purposes of showing her motive, bent of mind, scheme, or course of conduct in relation to the current offense.

Similar transaction evidence is admissible where (1) it is introduced for a proper purpose, (2) sufficient evidence shows that the accused committed the independent offense, and (3) a sufficient connection or similarity exists between the independent offense and the crime charged so that proof of the former tends to prove the latter.  Williams v. State, 261 Ga. 640(2)(b), 409 S.E.2d 649 (1991).   Here, the State sought to introduce the Thompson murder for a proper purpose, substantial evidence showed that this uncharged offense could be linked to Turner, and there was a logical connection between the Thompson murder and the murder of Turner's husband that would render this similar transaction admissible.   See Lyles v. State, 215 Ga. 229(2), 109 S.E.2d 785 (1959) (uncharged poisoning murders of other family members properly admitted in defendant's murder trial for poisoning daughter where evidence showed common scheme of poisoning family members to collect insurance money).   Specifically, Turner was intimate with both Thompson and Glenn;  both men went to the hospital complaining of flu-like symptoms soon before they died;  both men died from the unique cause of antifreeze poisoning;  Turner was the last person to see either man alive;  both men died soon after Turner served them Jell-O;  and Turner, who had financial problems before the deaths of both men, collected substantial money in connection with their deaths.   The evidence of Thompson's death was sufficiently connected to the death of Turner's husband to show Turner's common scheme and method of “murder[ing] [these men] for no cause except to satisfy her selfish desire for money.”  Id. at 236(5), 109 S.E.2d 785.   The trial court did not clearly err in admitting into evidence Thompson's death as a similar transaction.  Id. at 235(2), 109 S.E.2d 785;  Smith v. State, 273 Ga. 356(2), 541 S.E.2d 362 (2001).

2. Turner argues that the trial court's pattern jury charge on similar transaction evidence was erroneous because the charge stated, in part, that “[i]f [you determine that the accused committed the independent offense], you must then determine whether the act was similar enough to the crime charged in the indictment such that proof of the other offense tends to prove the crime charged in the indictment, keeping in mind the limited purpose of such evidence.”   Turner claims that the charge was improper in that it allowed the jury to find Turner guilty of murdering her husband if it believed that she murdered Thompson.   Viewing the charge as a whole, however, as we must (Stansell v. State, 270 Ga. 147(4), 510 S.E.2d 292 (1998)), we conclude that the charge adequately and appropriately informed the jury of the limited purpose for which the similar transaction evidence could be considered.   The charge repeatedly emphasized that the similar transaction evidence could only be considered for “the limited purpose of showing, if it does, the motive, plan and/or scheme, bent of mind, or modus operandi in the crime charged in the case now on trial.”   We find no error.  Spencer v. State, 268 Ga. 85(3), 485 S.E.2d 477 (1997).

3. Turner asserts that the trial court erroneously admitted hearsay in the form of (a) testimony from six witnesses regarding statements allegedly made by Glenn prior to his death, (b) testimonial statements made by Glenn to two police officers that were inadmissible under Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 124 S.Ct. 1354, 158 L.Ed.2d 177 (2004), and (c) Randy Thompson's diary.

(a) Hearsay statements are admissible under the necessity exception to the hearsay rule when the evidence is both necessary and accompanied by particularized guarantees of trustworthiness.  Chapel v. State, 270 Ga. 151(4), 510 S.E.2d 802 (1998).

“Necessity” is demonstrated when the declarant is deceased, when the statement is shown to be relevant to a material fact, and when the statement is more probative of the material fact than other evidence that may be produced and offered.   The requirement of “particularized guarantees of trustworthiness” is satisfied when the declaration is coupled with circumstances which attribute verity to the declaration.   The determination of trustworthiness is inescapably subjective and the trial court's determination of the issue will not be disturbed absent an abuse of discretion.

(Citations and punctuation omitted.)  Watson v. State, 278 Ga. 763, 765(2)(a), 604 S.E.2d 804 (2004).

The evidence here meets both criteria of the necessity test.   The declarant, Glenn Turner, is deceased, and all of the statements at issue dealt with Glenn's specific complaints about his marriage;  Turner putting pressure on Glenn to include her as the primary beneficiary on his insurance policies;  and Glenn's concerns that if something bad happened to him, Turner would probably be the one responsible.   Only Glenn's statements on these issues would be probative, and the statements were relevant to both Turner's alleged motive for killing her husband and the question whether Glenn may have committed suicide by ingesting antifreeze on his own.   The statements also carried particularized guarantees of trustworthiness in that they were made to Glenn Turner's close friends-friends in whom he confided both at work and as confidants outside of work-and all of the witnesses testified consistently regarding the types of statements made by Glenn prior to his death.   See Demons v. State, 277 Ga. 724(4), 595 S.E.2d 76 (2004).   The trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting these statements under the necessity exception.  Id.

(b) Crawford v. Washington, supra, holds that before out-of-court testimonial statements may be admitted in a criminal trial, the Confrontation Clause requires that the declarant be unavailable and that the defendant have had a prior opportunity for cross-examination.  Id. at 68(V)(C), 124 S.Ct. 1354.   However, “[w]here nontestimonial hearsay is at issue, it is wholly consistent with the Framers' design to afford the States flexibility in their development of hearsay law,” (id.) and state courts may consider “reliability factors beyond prior opportunity for cross-examination when the hearsay statement at issue was not testimonial.”  Id. at 57(IV), 124 S.Ct. 1354.   While the United States Supreme Court declined to give a comprehensive definition of “testimonial,” it is clear that the term “applies at a minimum to prior testimony at a preliminary hearing, before a grand jury, or at a former trial;  and to police interrogations.”  Id. at 68(V)(C), 124 S.Ct. 1354.   The term likely would not apply, however, to “[a]n off-hand, overheard remark” or “a casual remark to an acquaintance.”  Id. at 51(III)(A), 124 S.Ct. 1354.

Here, the objected to statements, although made to police officers, were not testimonial in nature.   The record makes clear that Glenn Turner was speaking to his police-officer co-workers as his close friends when he made the statements indicating that he would not commit suicide and that his wife would probably have something to do with it if he died.   The fact that Glenn worked as a police officer does not automatically convert any statement made to his colleagues into a testimonial statement, as the nature of Glenn's profession does not inherently change the nature of his statements.   There was certainly no interrogation here, and Glenn's statements were “made in ․ conversation[s] with ․ friend[s], before the commission of any crime, and without any reasonable expectation that they would be used at a later trial.”  Demons, supra, 277 Ga. at 727-728(4), 595 S.E.2d 76.   Thus, they were simply nontestimonial statements that were made to friends and co-workers who happened to also be police officers.   Because the statements were not testimonial in nature, and, as mentioned above, the statements fall within the necessity exception to the hearsay rule, the trial court did not err in admitting the statements.  Id. at 728(4), 595 S.E.2d 76.

(c) In connection with the similar transaction evidence discussed in Division 1, supra, the State made a proffer to show that Randy Thompson was in fact the author of a journal that the State introduced into evidence.   Pretermitting the question whether this proffer was sufficient to render the journal admissible (see Fetty v. State, 268 Ga. 365(6), 489 S.E.2d 813 (1997)), its admission was harmless, as its contents were merely cumulative of other evidence from witnesses who testified that Thompson was not suicidal and had plans for the future.   See Myers v. State, 275 Ga. 709(2), 572 S.E.2d 606 (2002).   As stated in Divisions 1 and 2, supra, sufficient evidence connected Turner to the murder of Thompson such that his death was admissible as a similar transaction, and the jury was sufficiently instructed about the limited purpose for which this evidence could be considered.   We find no harmful error.

4. Turner argues that the testimony of two expert medical examiners who opined that Glenn and Thompson died as a result of homicide, as well as death certificates admitted into evidence that referred to Glenn and Thompson's deaths as homicides, invaded the province of the jury.   However, Turner failed to object to the testimony of a third expert who offered the same testimony regarding homicide as the cause of death for both Glenn and Thompson.   Where the same evidence that was admitted over objection at trial is later admitted “without objection, such admitted evidence renders harmless admission of the same evidence over objection.”  (Citation and punctuation omitted.)   Tavera v. State, 279 Ga. 803, 805(2), 621 S.E.2d 422 (2005).

Judgement affirmed.


1.   The crime occurred on or about March 3, 1995.   Turner was indicted by a Cobb County grand jury on November 1, 2002, and charged with malice murder.   On May 14, 2004, a Houston County jury found her guilty of the charged offense, and Turner was sentenced to life imprisonment.   Turner filed a motion for new trial on May 18, 2004, which she amended on November 14, 2005.   The motion was denied on January 11, 2006, and a timely notice of appeal was filed on January 13, 2006.   The case was docketed in this Court on July 27, 2006, and orally argued on November 7, 2006.

MELTON, Justice.

All the Justices concur.



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