A tiny kid, Lisa Ann French was Turner's nearby neighbor. On that Hallows eve in 1973, she left home at 6 p.m. and eventually traipsed to Turner's house where she found the door open. Calling out "Trick or Treat," she expected a smiling adult to greet her and drop candy into her outstretched and opened bag. Then, she'd be on her way to the next house for more candy. Instead, this male adult snatched the little girl, forced her into his bedroom, removed her clothes, and violently raped her. Finally, he strangled her to death. He stuffed Lisa's nude body inside two black plastic garbage bags and packed her clothing in yet another bag, leaving them alongside a country road adjacent to a farmer's field just outside Fond du Lac.
A four day search for Lisa ensued, which at times involved 1,500 volunteers. The farmer, who owned the land where the plastic bags lay dormant, became inquisitive and checked the bag that held Lisa. At once, he notified authorities.
The next day, the state, no—the entire nation—reacted in utter shock.
In mid-1974, Fond du Lac Police Captain Melvin Heller and Special Agent Carl Paetzke interviewed Turner at his home and asked him his whereabouts and activities the previous Halloween. Apparently, Heller felt Turner's story had a discrepancy and asked Turner if he would take a lie detector test. Eventually, Turner agreed to the test but the results were not satisfactory to the examiner.
Finally, Turner confessed to Heller what he had done and even drew a diagram of where he had placed the plastic bags with the body and clothing. Turner's hair was found in the plastic bag and on Lisa's body.
He was charged with first degree murder. The jury instead found him guilty of second degree murder; indecent behavior with a child; enticing a child for immoral purposes; and, finally, sexual perversion. The judge gave him a 38 ½ year sentence. Most Wisconsin residents felt Turner should have been given a life sentence for his horrible crime.
In the later 70's, Turner was assigned to the Wisconsin State Prison's kitchen dock, where food and food-related items were delivered by outside distributors via semi-trucks. I often saw him as I made rounds of the institution. I did not see him speak to either staff or inmates unless he was first spoken to. Furthermore, he did not make eye contact with other inmates. If he did so, that was reason enough for the other inmate to bodily assault him. Fellow inmates would have gladly joined in the beating. For the most part, inmates treated him as if he did not exist unless he disrespected a fellow inmate by not getting out of the way as fast as the inmate thought Turner should.
He was on the extreme bottom of the inmate pecking order because he was a "baby raper," the term used by inmates for child molesters. They despised baby rapers and treated them accordingly. However, Turner was a special case. He also murdered the child he had anally molested. If Turner attempted to speak to an inmate, that act, alone, was reason enough for that inmate to physically assault him. If another inmate spoke to Turner, it was to order him to get the hell out of the way. That's why many child molesters prefer to live in segregated protective custody confinement, away from general population inmates.
I recall seeing convicted child molesters climbing or descending the prison school's stairs and if another inmate or inmates suddenly ascended or descended those same stairs, the molester stopped immediately, put his head down, looked away, and made plenty of room for other inmates to pass him by. Child molesters acted with utmost discretion. Or else.
At the time, I was the institution's Education Director. Part of my duties included going each weekday morning to the mail department in the front of the intuition where I checked out and subsequently approved or disapproved books and magazines mailed to inmates. I didn't especially like the task because of my training; English teachers despise book suppression. It was easy for me to turn down books on guns and how to make explosives, but I didn't like being the prison's Chief Censor.
One morning, I was absolutely shocked after opening a large manila envelope, addressed to Gerald Turner. It had a magazine inside. Apparently, Turner had ordered the magazine and paid for it. First of all, the price on the front cover, fifty dollars, nearly floored me. After thumbing through its pages with its many colored photos, I discovered the entire publication was devoted to hardcore sexual bondage, including handcuffs, whips, and other paraphernalia. The magazine, I believe, had come from another country, which one I no longer recall.
Thinking of poor Lisa French and what Turner had done to her, I did not allow him to have that magazine. After reading my written decision for turning down his periodical, Turner sued me, the warden, the Corrections' division, the governor, and just about anyone else in authority. About a year and a half later, I could hardly believe the judge's written decision. His Honor ordered the state to allow Turner to have that magazine in his cell. The judge must have realized what Turner had done but chose to figuratively spit on Lisa French's grave.
Turner was paroled in 1992, which prompted state lawmakers to pass the Sexual Predator law, which allows Wisconsin to keep some people convicted of sex crimes in custody for treatment if they're deemed potentially violent. In 1998, his parole officer in a halfway house found in Turner's room hundreds of hardcore pornographic images on a computer's hard drive. An administrative judge found him guilty of disobeying the rules of his parole (Thankfully, some judges have good common sense) and sentenced Turner to fifteen additional years in prison.
I don’t know if the Halloween Killer is now free. I hope not. I hope he's never allowed to live in free society. His crime, his sin, is unpardonable.