A Quinn-Martin Production!
Fantacy Figure Committed Crime, Says Convicted Killer
By Chris Kitching
November 30, 2008
Twelve years after her husband's death, convicted murderer Monique Turenne returned to a Florida courtroom recently to seek a new trial and once again proclaim her innocence.
At a hearing November 21, the Winnipeg woman claimed her lawyer, Walter Smith, was ineffective and failed to call key witnesses to testify at her jury trial in 2005, which her new lawyer, Jim Husbands, argued is grounds for a new trial.
A judge will rule on the motion at a later date.
Turenne told the hearing she was framed by Canadian authorities and that Smith should have called witnesses to talk about "Diablo," a man Turenne's lover once claimed was the killer, according to a report in the Panama City News Herald.
"Diablo was just sort of a fantasy," Smith told the hearing.
"This guy Diablo was supposed to be like the one-armed man from 'The Fugitive' who really committed the crime."
Smith said he tried to keep Diablo out of the trial because no one would believe the story, according to the newspaper report.
What really convicted Turenne was a statement she gave Winnipeg police, Smith said.
Lawyers for Turenne and the prosecution did not return calls seeking comment.
Turenne was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 21 years, eight months in prison for the murder of her husband David in Panama City, Fla., in February 1996.
His niece, Mary Oscarson, said there is no basis for a new trial.
"I think in the end this is going to come to nothing," Oscarson said. "The Diablo story, we heard it years after David's death. They've made this up and they're going to run with it."
David Turenne, a major in the Canadian Air Force, was stationed at Tyndall Air Base near Panama City when he was beaten to death with a claw hammer outside the couple's home.
Monique Turenne's lover, retired U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Ralph Crompton, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Crompton has always maintained his innocence and named Monique Turenne, now 52, as the killer.
At his trial, Crompton said he was on his back while struggling with the 42-year-old victim when David Turenne's body went limp.
Crompton claims he looked up and saw Monique Turenne holding a bloody hammer. The weapon was never found.
Monique Turenne left Panama City before she was charged and returned to Winnipeg.
When she was questioned by Winnipeg police, she told homicide investigators Crompton was only supposed to rough up her husband, not kill him.
At last week's hearing, Turenne claimed the statement was fabricated.
After years of legal wrangling, Monique Turenne was finally extradited in 2004 and put on trial a year later. She is scheduled to be released from prison in 2025.