Edmonton

Son of former Edmonton police chief found guilty of murder in death of Dana Turner

The son of former Edmonton police Chief John Lindsay admitted he killed the 31-year-old Fort Saskatchewan woman in August 2011. His lawyer argued Lindsay was not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.

Defence lawyer argued Lindsay was not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder

Mark Lindsay says he felt guilty after killing his ex-girlfriend Dana Turner. (Supplied)

Wendy Yurko still can't bring herself to refer to her dead daughter in the past tense.

Dana Turner was killed by Mark Lindsay in August 2011.

On Friday, a Court of Queen's Bench justice found Lindsay guilty of second-degree murder.

"Before I came here today, that was our prayer," Yurko said outside the courthouse in Red Deer. "That he would be found responsible. I thought, 'Oh thank goodness.' This judge actually has a heart and a brain. So there's that relief."

Lindsay admitted to RCMP in a videotaped interview that he killed Turner, his on-again, off-again girlfriend.  After smoking crack cocaine in a rental car, he stabbed the 31-year-old in both eyes with a pencil, hoping it would go through to her brain. Then he confessed he strangled Turner with a shoelace and finally ran over her head with the rental car.  

Lindsay also told Mounties he feared Turner. He said he thought she was a witch, part of a group he called the Healers who were determined to kill him.  

Dana Turner's body was disposed of in a forested area west of Innisfail. (Supplied)

Justice Eldon Simpson called that explanation an "excuse" and a "creation".  In his 47-page decision, Simpson wrote: "As for his 'Healers' conspiracy narrative in relation to Dana Turner, I find this is a fabrication built off his pre-existing paranoid and delusional experience resulting from substance abuse."

Lindsay's lawyer, Kent Teskey, argued during the trial Lindsay should be declared not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder.

Two psychiatrists and a psychologist testified during the trial. Simpson found flaws with testimony from all three mental health professionals. He found one lacked scientific objectivity, while the other two relied on evidence that was not before the court.  

In the end, Simpson concluded Lindsay "did not suffer from a disease of the mind. He knew his actions were morally wrong." The judge ruled the killer did not meet either legal test to be declared not criminally responsible for the murder.  

Simpson also concluded Lindsay "may have killed Dana Turner as a consequence of his drug and alcohol use, but if so, that is not a basis for a not criminally responsible defence."

The judge said the real reason Lindsay killed Turner was because he was angry with her for getting him sent to jail after he attacked her with a knife in June 2011.  Lindsay pleaded guilty to assault and was released from jail Aug.12, 2011. He killed Turner just three days later.

Yurko may be pleased with the verdict, but she's still bitter about the way the first attack on her daughter was handled by the courts.  

Wendy Yurko was relieved Mark Lindsay was convicted of murder in her daughter's death. (Janice Johnston/CBC News )

"If they had locked Mark Lindsay up on June 22nd when he stabbed my daughter in the head with a knife, if they had locked him up then instead of releasing him on August 12th, my daughter would be joining me for dinner today," she said. "That is disgusting."

The second-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence, with a range of 10 to 25 years before he can apply for parole.

Lindsay will likely be sentenced in July. Wendy Yurko plans to return to Red Deer courthouse for the sentencing.  She wrote her victim impact statement about a year after her daughter was murdered.

"There aren't that many people who know what it's like to have a child almost murdered and then murdered in 50 days," she said.  

janice.johnston@cbc.ca

@cbcjanjohnston