(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
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
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
“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.”