Father of murdered Airman 1st Class Ashley Turner: “I feel you have a killer among you now”

Turner_mother_2

(Airman 1st Class Ashley Turner with her mother, Lisa.)

I have been following the terribly tragic case of Airman 1st Class Ashley Turner in Stars and Stripes. Wednesday the tragedy was compounded, perhaps for the last time.

Ashley Turner was murdered on August 14th, 2005 at the US Naval Air Station Keflavik in Iceland. Turner was murdered 8 days before she was to testfy in the court martial of fellow Airman Calvin Eugene Hill who was accused of stealing her ATM card and withdrawing $2700, an act apparently caught on an ATM video. However inexplicably Airman Hill had not been placed in a holding facility and Ashley Turner “had been ordered to live in the
same dorm as a man she was scheduled to testify against for stealing from her.” Hill was eventually charged with Turner’s murder with prosecutors claiming “Hill hunted her down, slammed
an exercise weight into her face, dragged her body into the spare room
and then attacked her with a knife.” Ashley’s blood was found on one of Hill’s shoelaces. An Army private testified that Hill had confessed the crime to him in the jail cell they shared in Germany. But despite motive and the evidence Hill was found not guilty of her murder on Wednesday.

The verdict came as yet another in a line of blows to the family of Ashley Turner. The first blow came as the family learned of Ashley’s death. The military did not inform the family she had been murdered. Turner’s mother, Lisa, said “We knew absolutely nothing. I kept thinking she just fell off the
treadmill.” According to Lisa, “We found out through an Iceland paper on the Internet she was murdered.” The family reached out to that paper for more news much to the shock and dismay of the Icelandic paper

The Grapevine was first contacted by different members of the Turner
family on August 17th, two days after we posted a news story about the
murder of Ashley Christine Turner on August 14th at the Keflavík Navy
Base.
In personal correspondence, the Turner family requested regular
updates, indicating that the chain of command at Keflavík wasn’t being
forthcoming with information surrounding the case.
Initially, the correspondence took us by surprise. We were only
publishing translations and explanations of what the Icelandic media
were saying about the murder. Surely the base officials could tell
more.

The paper was moved to do a report on the case and the growing violence of a minority of personnel at the base. It concluded with a letter from Ashley’s brother forwarded to the paper by the family so people could understand and relate to who Ashley had been. It is an incredible article.

But the bungling on the part of the military did not end there. There was confusion on performing autopsies, “several misprinted death
certificates and a botched delivery of death benefits.” Through it all, the Turner’s who are a military family were loathe to speak out against the military.

But on Wednesday, when after only 5 hours of deliberation a jury of 8 officers and 6 enlisted men delivered a not guilty verdict for the man the Turner’s believed murdered their daughter, they expressed their outrage

“They just wanted to get it done and get out of there,” [Lisa] Turner said. “It was
a travesty of justice.”

“I think the jury was concerned about getting home in time to avoid rush-hour
traffic,” Larry Turner, who is divorced from Lisa, said in a separate telephone
interview Thursday.

“It’s almost comical, for a case of this gravity, for them to make a decision
in that short a time,” Larry Turner said. “It was like an insult: an insult to
the court system, an insult to the prosecution and an insult to us.”

13 thoughts on “Father of murdered Airman 1st Class Ashley Turner: “I feel you have a killer among you now”

  1. Horrible.
    There is something deeply wrong with our military.
    Not surprising, really, when their sole organizing purpose is destruction.

  2. scout says:

    Holden…I am thinking the same. And think it is even worse for women in the military

  3. slim says:

    The Bush/Republican culture of cover-ups and preserving the image at the expense of the individuals has reached into every institution of government (though the military has never really been innocent in this regard).
    Peace to Airman Turner’s family, though that will be terribly slow and hard in coming, I’m afraid.

  4. Ian says:

    I’m tired of supporting the troops as a reflex action. More and more we see murder and mayhem from them that’s somehow supposed to be excused because they’ve volunteered for a tough job and they’re protecting our freedoms. It’s not excusable and when they act with dishonor, no different than common criminals, they don’t deserve support, they deserve prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.

  5. lb0313 says:

    Really, really fine post Scout. Wonderfully written and pulled together

  6. Christopher Mathews says:

    I’m a former Air Force chief regional prosecutor and senior appellate judge. I am not personally familiar with the Hill case, but I am fairly well-versed in military law as it’s practiced in the Air Force.
    SP notes that Amn Hill was “inexplicably” not “placed in a holding facility” prior to his originally-scheduled court-martial. In reality, there is nothing inexplicable about that fact. Military law does not contemplate nor permit pre-trial confinement of every person accused of a crime. In general practice, non-violent offenses such as theft do not ordinarily justify such confinement. It’s not clear from SP’s post why Amn Hill was allowed to remain in the same dorm as A1C Turner, but in the absence of any history of violent behavior or threats on his part, or any request by A1C Turner that one or the other of them be relocated, I’m not sure it would have occurred to anyone to move them. Military communities are fairly compact, especially overseas; having suspects and witnesses working and living in close proximity is the norm, rather than the exception.
    I’m not trying to make light of what happened; obviously, A1C Turner was the victim of a horrible crime and there are many issues raised by her family about what happened before and at the trial that deserve some explanation. But under normal circumstances, I would not have expected to see Amn Hill locked up prior to trial on the original charges.

  7. frenchdm says:

    We need to write letters to the editor in our local papers to make this an issue that reaches a broader audience. It’s disgraceful that the national media is not paying attention to this story.
    I’ll write my letter today, please join me.

  8. scout says:

    Thank you Christopher for that explanation. Though “inexplicably” was not the word used by the family regarding this point it was their point. But again thanks for the information.

  9. pansypoo says:

    not your grandfather’s military/war.

  10. My sweet aunt Fanny.
    Pansy Poo, could you possibly be a bigger, more useless snotball?
    I am so sorry For Airman Turner’s family. The former JAG is correct; military procedure back to the 1970s, at least, would not have mandated separation; and if Keflavik is as small a place as the articles made it sound, there would have been no practicable way to do this without putting either Turner in protective custody or Hill in preventive custody, which could very easily be seen as prejudicial to his defense.

  11. RonCharest says:

    I had to deal with the Air Force (non) justice system as a Navy enlisted on joint service. I was appalled at how the Air Force would expend great amounts of effort making any legal case just “go away.” Not deal with the people involved and making sure justice was being served.
    The Air Force, as a service, only cares about the Air Force image. They could give a s&*t about the people wearing an Air Force uniform.

  12. dave™© says:

    I’m not surprised in the least at this. The American Military is a misogynist, fanatically-religious cult that exists only to brainwash people into killing. It’s been that way for years.
    To think otherwise is delusional.

  13. Dan says:

    I am deeply confused with how the investigators and prosecution could allow this case to go on with so many open ends and unexplained questions. Although it is a terrible act of injustice to Ashley and all that knew her, this is how law is practiced not only in the military, but in the United States. If the investigators fail to answer the questions and are sloppy with the scene and the prosecution can’t prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the verdict is innocent. In America justice isn’t necessarily just it’s just a bureaucratic process. My deepest condolences go out to her family as I hope that they will some how find closure.
    On a different note those of you who are on here just to spew military hatred and anti-military retoric there are more appropriate forums to express such views, not a forum about the unjustice of a fallen Airman.

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