Canadian judge let Turner free despite U.S. advice

U.S. courts disagreed with Canadian judge over Dr. Shirley Turner's bail.

Court officials in Newfoundland disagreed with those in Pennsylvania about the wisdom of letting Dr. Shirley Turner free on bail pending her trial for murder.

In hindsight, the U.S. judge was right.

Turner drowned her 13-month-old son and herself last month in what police in St. John's have called a murder-suicide.

At the time, she was free on bail while fighting extradition to Pennsylvania on charges of murdering her former lover.

* Coverage from CBC St. John's

New court documents released after a publication ban was lifted show that Newfoundland Justice Gale Welsh believed Turner, 41, wasn't a threat to society, despite the murder charges awaiting her in Pennsylvania.

Shot five times

Turner's former lover Dr. Andrew Bagby, 28, was shot five times in a parking lot in a state park in Pennsylvania on Nov. 5, 2001.

Investigators traced Turner's movements between Nov. 4 and Nov. 6 using her cellphone records. They say she drove from her residence in Iowa to kill Bagby, then went back home.

Her cellphone records also showed a number of calls days earlier to Bagby's new girlfriend.

She fled to Newfoundland, where she had family, shortly before police in Pennsylvania issued a warrant for her arrest.

Nonetheless, Justice Welsh didn't believe Turner was likely to run away and released her on $75,000 bail while she appealed her extradition order.

  • FROM SEPT. 3, 2003: 'Words are useless ... our life is ended'

    Prosecutors in Pennsylvania warned the Newfoundland courts that Turner was potentially violent and a suicide risk.

    The court documents say Turner attempted to kill herself in 1999, at the end of another relationship .

    Turner and Bagby met while both were medical students at Memorial University in St. John's. They carried on a relationship, until just before Bagby's murder.

    Investigators in Pennsylvania say Bagby dumped Turner who was pregnant with his child.

    Several months after she fled to Canada, Turner gave birth to Zachary.

    Bagby's parents came to Newfoundland from their California home to be near their new grandson.

  • now