But not forgotten. Even after Archer left the force in October 1999 and began working at a Chevrolet dealership in nearby Roswell, Ga., there would be reminders of his old friend. Like customer Randy Thompson. Archer had heard that Thompson, a strapping 32-year-old cop turned firefighter, was living with Turner's widow. Then one day in January of last year some of Archer's coworkers came into his office. "They said, 'Are you ready for this? They just found Randy Thompson dead,'" recalls Archer. "I slammed my hand on the desk and said, 'I knew it!'"
Authorities, however, didn't share the former sergeant's view that the unexpected deaths of Turner and Thompson—two guys whose only apparent link was the woman in their lives—amounted to anything more than tragic coincidence. But after intense lobbying by both men's families finally prompted the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) to begin probing their deaths in June 2001, that would change. Authorities determined that Turner and Thompson, each of whom had succumbed after the sudden onset of flu-like symptoms, had both died after ingesting a rarely used poison—ethylene glycol, a chief component of antifreeze—and reclassified both cases as homicides. (The poison doesn't show up in a routine tox screen, and in both instances the MEs ruled the deaths natural before further tests were ordered.) "It's all overwhelming," said Thompson's mother, Nita, 55. "It's like sitting on a powder keg."
The keg exploded Nov. 1, when Lynn Turner was charged with murdering her husband, Glenn. "Every case has special challenges," says Cobb County District Attorney Pat Head, who will handle the case when it comes to trial next year. "There are a lot of cases that have gone unsolved much longer than this one." Although a possible motive for Glenn Turner's murder remains murky, at Lynn's Nov. 13 bond hearing prosecutors questioned witnesses about a $100,000 insurance policy that Glenn had purchased. (According to testimony at the same hearing by GBI Special Agent David King, Lynn, 34, is also "the prime suspect" in the ongoing investigation into Randy Thompson's death.) Lynn "has maintained her innocence and we believe her," says lawyer D. Victor Reynolds of his client, who had been working for an Atlanta title search firm. (She remains jailed pending a decision on bond.) "We believe in the end that innocence will come through."
Ironically, police work had always held a fascination for Lynn Turner, who was raised as an only child in the Atlanta area by her adoptive mother, Helen Gregory, 65, and stepfather. "Lynn loved the excitement of being around law enforcement," says Randy Thompson's father, Perry, 54, a trucker and onetime police officer. "When she'd talk to you it was in police signals." Lynn held several clerical and secretarial jobs, but they were always for police departments, lawyers or judges. She was working for an attorney in the early '90s when she met Glenn Turner at a party. It wasn't long before he was smitten.
"He really loved her," says Kathy Turner, 63, of her son Glenn, the middle of her five children with former husband Dillard. "Lynn always hung around guys," says Glenn's sister Linda Hardy, 40. "She was hyper and kind of fun to get along with. She wanted to be the life of the party." Many of Glenn's family and friends, however, were less taken with the athletic brunette, known for her love of flashy sports cars. (In 1993 Lynn bought two Camaros, one a snazzy-maroon Z-28 six-speed convertible, for around $25,000 each.) "She was so controlling and obsessive," says Glenn's buddy Jeff Mack, owner of a lawn-maintenance service. "Everything was about her."
The couple's relationship soured soon after their August 1993 wedding. By the summer of 1994, while Glenn worked overtime to pay their rapidly mounting bills, Lynn started disappearing on weekends. Thompson's parents say that Lynn had begun spending time with their son and the family: "Lynn told us and our son," says Perry Thompson, "that she and Glenn were divorced."
Finally Glenn had had enough. Toward the end of February 1995 he had heart-to-hearts with his close pal Archer and other friends about his marital problems. "He almost broke down and cried in the middle of the restaurant," Archer remembers. "He was going to move out at the end of the week." But Turner never got the chance. After calling in sick for several days, he checked himself into the ER, where he was given fluids and medication intravenously to stop his vomiting and diarrhea, then sent home. The next day Lynn told police that she had been out running errands in the morning and returned to find Glenn dead.
"I never felt like it was a natural death," says Kathy Turner. At the time she asked the medical examiner's office if additional tests could be performed, especially on the greenish fluid found in her son's stomach. "They said they couldn't do anything more because it cost too much," she recalls. "So I felt like there was nothing else I could do." (The Cobb County Medical Examiner's office declined to comment.)
Almost immediately Lynn put the Marietta, Ga., house she had shared with Glenn on the market. She sold it in August, then purchased a place in her hometown of Cumming, Ga., and began living with Thompson, an outgoing type who doted on his little boy from his first marriage. "He loved to laugh," says Nita Thompson, a "Wal-Mart training coordinator, of her son. Dad Perry says that one day Lynn casually mentioned that her ex had died.
Lynn and Randy had two children together, daughter Amber in 1996 and son Blake in '98. "But it was a love-hate relationship from the get-go," says Perry Thompson. "They'd fight all the time." Police reports indicate that in February 1997 Randy took an overdose of sleeping and pain pills, though no reason was ever given. By 1999 the pair had separated. Randy moved into a nearby apartment with his cockatoo Simon, but remained close with Lynn and his children. In fact he went to dinner with them on the last Friday of his life. "I called him Saturday," Nita remembers. "He said he'd been sick and was throwing up." On Monday he was dead.
Thompson's parents were suspicious from the start, despite the autopsy's conclusion that cardiovascular disease had caused Randy's death. For one thing, a physical the previous week had found him in good health. Then there were the circumstances in which his body was discovered: His TV, always on when he was home, was off, and his beloved bird, who usually roamed free, was locked in his cage. The Thompsons also viewed Lynn's subsequent behavior as strange. Says Perry: "The day after we buried him, she called and asked Nita if she'd heard that people were saying that she had something to do with it."
Not long after that, Lynn cut off all communication with Randy's parents except to make demands through her lawyers for pieces of Randy's property. (According to testimony from GBI Special Agent King at Lynn's Nov. 13 bond hearing, she was "in great debt" at the time of Randy's death and currently has approximately $174,000 in outstanding bills.) Nita Thompson says that Lynn also refused to let her or her husband visit their grandchildren, who are being cared for by Lynn's mother while Lynn remains in the Cobb County jail.
"I really feel for Lynn's family, especially for her kids," says Glenn Turner's friend Mike Archer. "But it's about time we got a chance to have justice."
Kristin Harmel in Cumming and Marietta
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