Former reporter recalls talks with Lynn Turner

Former Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Jane Hansen covered the deaths of Lynn Turner's husband and boyfriend from 2001 -- when Glenn Turner's death investigation was reopened --  until Turner was convicted and sentenced to a second life term in 2007.

Law enforcement agencies have credited Hansen with helping to bring closure to the case.

"Without her calling over here, these cases probably wouldn't be solved," Georgia Bureau of Investigations spokesman John Bankhead said.

Now working as public information officer for the Georgia Supreme Court, Hansen took time Monday to reflect on the case of Lynn Turner.

Q. What moved the jury to spare her life?

A. Some of the jurors felt great concern for her children. I think, by all accounts, she was a terrific mother. She did talk a lot about her kids. She said she was concerned about her son and daughter.

Q. What was Turner’s general demeanor and state of mind before and during the trial?

A. The first time I talked to her, before the trial, she was taking care of her kids. She was a very likable person. During the trials, she was very calm, cool, and collected. In the first trial in Perry, there was no other trial going on. When I'd go to the ladies room, we'd often speak. In one case, she gave me  a piece of lemon gum (I did not chew it). The day of the verdict, she told me she expected to be found not guilty. When I asked her how she was feeling, she said she was nervous. I had less contact with her in the second trial.

Q. When, if ever, did you see an important turning point in the trials? When did it become clear that Turner would be convicted?

A. I never presumed she was guilty or that she was going to be convicted. I always believed maybe the jury would hear something I didn’t know. Even when I talked to other reporters and they said, "you know she's guilty," I always presumed there might be something that would prove her innocence.

Q. What was one of the most memorable moments from covering these cases and trials?

A. Interviewing the mother and brother of Glenn Turner, and then the mother of Randy Thompson. Their descriptions of their sons' deaths and the way that they relayed them were identical. When I filed for the autopsies of both men and they were almost exactly the same, each man went to hospital with flu-like symptons, each man spoke to his mother and said he was fine after being sent home with fluids, each man had autopsy reports of enlarged hearts.

Q. Having covered her trial as extensively as you had, what was your initial reaction when you learned of her death?

A. I was very sad. Her life really was a tragedy for the Thompson and Turner families, and for her children.