Pick Your Poison

Poisons have been used throughout history as a means of getting rid of philosophers, politicians, husbands, wives, and even brothers-in-law. Some cases of "murder most foul".

Deadly Smoothies

Maryann Neabor of Shamog, NJ, says "she just wanted to make her brother-in-law sick" when she fed him pineapple smoothies laced with antifreeze back in 2004. The jury saw it as aggravated manslaughter. Antifreeze is primarily ethylene glycol, a chemical with a resemblance to sugar which is why it is sweet to the taste. This sweetness allows it to be put into fruit drinks and other foods and go undetected by the person consuming them.

In 1993, Julia Lynn Turner's husband Maurice, a Georgia police officer, died of sudden and undetermined ailment that was decided to be a heart attack. Soon after she moved in with Randy Thompson, a sheriff's deputy and firefighter, and things were fine--for a while. They had two children and then the relationship went on the rocks. In 2001, Randy Thompson took ill and died, also from a suspicious ailment. Both men had large life insurance policies which were to be paid out to Julia Lynn. Both had died of kidney and heart failure, so investigators were suspicious. Forensic investigation suggested the men had been poisoned, but with what? Often a poison is no longer present in the victim's body, because the body metabolizes it. The forensic toxicologist must search for metabolic products of the poison, and in some cases there may be more than one.

When the husband died in 1993, the medical examiner had wondered at the time about the presence of high amounts of calcium oxalate crystals in various tissues from the body. In 2001, the forensic toxicologist found similar results and realized that calcium oxalate forms in the kidneys from oxalic acid. Oxalic acid is a major metabolic product of the metabolism of antifreeze.

But how could this woman get two full grown men, both law enforcement officers, to consume antifreeze? Julia Lynn was a creative poisoner--she laced lemon-lime Gatorade with the antifreeze. The sweet taste and green color were a perfect match. However, Julia Lynn became even more creative, including the antifreeze in lime Jell-O, and even in chicken soup. In May 2004, a jury found Julia Lynn guilty of malice murder in the death of both men.

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