** New, important information was added on 27 October 2016. For the update, go to the very end of the post … **
Mark Damien Lindsay, the adopted son of former Edmonton Police Chief John Lindsay, told a court in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada on 15 August 2012 he’d murdered his girlfriend, Dana Turner of Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta.
Mark Lindsay said he was having illusions when he killed the 31-year-old, which he said initially happened ‘somewhere’ in Alberta in the summer of 2011.
Lindsay claimed Dana was part of a group of ‘serial killers’ that wanted to do him in.
It might not have been the first time he made that remark. According to a close friend of Turner, he’d also told her the same thing.
The skeletal remains of the mother of three were spotted in a thicket by a worker servicing an oil pump jack 10 kilometers west of Innisfail, Alberta. The gruesome discovery came not long after Lindsay phoned from a jail in Kamloops, British Columbia.
I’d written Lindsay, asking him to call. He did. It was his first interview.
Lindsay made two fairly short phone calls, one of which I managed to record. An edited transcript of that talk appears towards the end of this post.
THE PREVIOUS ATTACK
Lindsay and Turner — both dopeheads — met while patients at a psychiatric hospital in northeast Edmonton.
The admission from Lindsay that he had killed his girlfriend wasn’t his first run-in with the law. Court records show that in 2011, Mark Lindsay pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of assault after stabbing Turner in the head with a paring knife.
The near-fatal attack happened on 22 June 2011 at Lindsay’s apartment, #315, 8539-82 Avenue, Edmonton.
According to Turner’s written account of the event, she’d driven into town that day to register for a drug-addiction program — but picked up some crack cocaine instead. Turner then went around to Lindsay’s apartment, where she spotted a large kitchen knife lying on the coffee table. Strange, she thought, what’s a big knife doing next to the couch? The woman picked up the knife and took it to the kitchen. Little did she know.
The pair was high on dope and making out on the couch when Lindsay rammed a paring knife into his girlfriend’s skull, just above her left ear. “Nooooo” she screamed, trying to get him to stop. According to Turner, the blade went in as far as it could go — to the base of the handle.
“He got off me and stood up with a very shocked look on his face …”
Turner said she yelled out, “Lord! Do not leave me … do not forsake me. I love you, my Lord.”
The young woman yanked out the knife and with blood running down her face, ran into the hallway where she was helped by a stranger.
According to Turner, Mark Lindsay refused to call 911.
WEIRD TEXT MESSAGES
Check out the following text message Mark Lindsay sent Dana Turner. A shrink would know better, but it seems to me that the text is further proof that drugs mess up people’s thinking — either that or Lindsay is one terrific bullshitter.
“Dearest immaculate Jana, my Dane, this is the beauty of the perfection of the infinite nothing that we pull our trials and tribulations from. Maybe we shouldn’t wonder why we are the way we are. I love you without judgment or pretentious animosity. You are the epitome of the beauty I need to be content with where I am. Thank you for everything even though I have nothing.”
Here’s another text, this one from Turner to Lindsay:
“You have the whole of everything that matters not just on earth but in the entire universe of heaven and earth. My heart was in your hands before my command, my eyes knew you … there has never been one moment of my existence that I did not adore you and love you from the core of my soul.”
PHONE CALL FROM MARK LINDSAY
In a phone call from the Kamloops Correctional Centre on 1 October 2011, Lindsay described the stabbing of his girlfriend in the head as an “accident.” He also claimed he didn’t know where his missing girlfriend could be.
Lindsay refused to comment on whether it was he who was captured on a security video at a motel in the west end of Edmonton.
What was most surprising, perhaps not, is that Lindsay expressed no concern that his girlfriend was missing … and that her family was terribly worried about her safety. First, he stabs his girlfriend in the head … and now this. Maybe he wasn’t being honest when he wrote that he loved Dana “without judgment or pretentious animosity.”
As for the June 2011 attack in which Turner was stabbed with a paring knife, Edmonton Police initially wanted to charge Lindsay with attempted murder … but settled instead on the lesser charge of aggravated assault. From aggravated assault, the charge was further reduced to assault.
Would this happen to the average person — or is it a privilege enjoyed by children of former police chiefs? Just saying.
Lindsay was released from the Edmonton Remand Centre after spending 50 days [“time served”]. He was given a conditional sentence which meant that if he kept his nose clean for 18-months, he wouldn’t have a record.
Dana Turner appeared in court with her victim-impact statement [a diary, if you will] — but the judge never got to hear it. The victim made eye-contact with the man who nearly killed her, mouthing ‘I love you.’ Remember, the two met in a psych ward.
Here’s a portion of Turner’s account [9 pages total] of what happened the day her boyfriend stabbed her at his apartment.
In spite of the knife attack, Dana Turner continued to see Mark Lindsay.
The two got back together soon after Lindsay was released from jail, in August 2011. Dana told her mother, Wendy Yurko, she wanted to retrieve her guitar, purse, and some personal items which she’d left behind at Lindsay’s apartment.
Dana Turner was spotted on a video surveillance tape-recorded around 7 in the morning on Sunday, 14 August 2011. She was with an unknown male checking into the West Harvest Inn, 184 Street and Stony Plain Road in Edmonton.
That same day, at around five in the afternoon, Turner’s grainy image was captured by another video surveillance camera — at a Domo gas station, about a block away. They are the last known pictures of Dana Turner alive.
The next photos of Turner, a few months later, were of her remains. They were taken by an RCMP forensics team about 10 kilometers west of Innisfail, Alberta, in a thicket just meters off a service road leading to a pump jack.
Turner’s remains were put in a van and taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Calgary where they stayed for nearly a year. On 24 September 2012, Wendy Yurko got a phone call from the Medical Examiner that her daughter’s body was finally being released for burial.
Dana Turner’s funeral, held on Saturday, 13 October 2012, was limited to immediate family members and select friends. A public memorial service for Turner had been held the previous fall.
The victim’s mother was not at either service.
WHERE TURNER’S BODY WAS FOUND
ATTACK ON TURNER NOT AN ISOLATED INCIDENT
Lindsay’s admission that he killed Turner came when he appeared in court in Kamloops on charges stemming from the stabbing of an undercover RCMP officer in the summer of 2011.
At that appearance, Lindsay also pleaded guilty to jabbing a pen and pencil into the eye of a fellow inmate during a game of Scrabble at the Kamloops Correctional Centre. Lindsay claimed he acted in self-defence. The victim is now blind in one eye.
According to Tim Petruk of Kamloops This Week, a judge sent Lindsay away for a psychiatric evaluation.
I helped set up the first meeting with Petruk and Lindsay.
Petruk was the first to ignore an RCMP gag order on reporting key elements of the Lindsay case. The RCMP had been telling reporters that Mark Lindsay was the target of an undercover investigation into Dana Turner’s disappearance. If that’s true, investigators suddenly decided to conduct an elaborate and expensive undercover operation, quickly got all their paperwork in order … then got snap approval from top brass to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars — just to determine the whereabouts of a long-time drug user — someone willingly in the company of a man she loved. That’s unbelievable.
A second reporter who didn’t ‘fall into line’ was JT Lemiski of CFCW Radio News in Edmonton. Kudos to both journalists for not being ‘cop-suckers.’ Most media outlets respectfully obeyed an RCMP request not to report on certain aspects of the case. They fell into line.
WAS ‘MR. BIG’ A BIG SCREW-UP?
There are unconfirmed reports Mark Lindsay was the target of an elaborate undercover RCMP sting known as a ‘Mr. Big’ operation — at a time Dana Turner was murdered. Yurko says if that’s true, her daughter died on their watch.
Put another way, was Mark Lindsay supposed to be under RCMP surveillance when he murdered his girlfriend?
If Mark Lindsay was the target of a “Mr. Big” Operation, perhaps the victim was someone other than Dana Turner. It begs the question: Was Mark Lindsay released from jail early because he was the subject of an on-going undercover operation, and police needed him out to continue their work? We can only wonder.
From time to time, the police send out news releases when violent criminals are released after serving their sentences. The idea, of course, is to warn members of the public. Did this happen when Mark Damien Lindsay was released after ramming a knife into Turner’s skull? I don’t believe it did.
Yurko reveals something else interesting about the RCMP investigation into her daughter’s disappearance: She claims in the very early stages of their probe, she asked the Mounties if her daughter’s image had been captured by a security camera at the West Harvest Inn in Edmonton. According to Yurko, the Mounties told her ‘no’ … that unfortunately the tape had been erased by the time they found out about it.
Not so, says Yurko. She says she contacted the West Harvest Inn and discovered the tape hadn’t been erased after all. If Yurko had not called the motel, that vital piece of evidence may have been destroyed.
Yurko wonders if that was plain old sloppy police work — or if there was a cover-up of a bungled undercover police operation.
EDITED TRANSCRIPT OF 1 OCTOBER 2011 PHONE INTERVIEW WITH KILLER LINDSAY
BC: How are they treating you [at Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre]?
ML: Good; kinda wondering what’s being said [about him in Edmonton]; haven’t been able to catch anything on the news …
BC: Did you know what was going on with your arrest?
ML: I don’t know actually know was being said; I’m just looking for some news …
BC: Do you know why police would say you were a murder suspect?
ML: There’s an investigation going on. I might be able to talk to you about that later, as soon as I get more details. Do you have any details as to what happened out here in Kamloops?
BC: You were driving a half-ton truck, and you stabbed someone …
ML: We’re going through court dates and stuff over that. I have another court date coming up soon; I might be able to give you a call …
BC: Did you feel you were part of a ‘sting’ operation? Can you talk about that?
ML: That’s what this is about … yeah, he was an undercover, so …
BC: Another thing in the news is that your girlfriend [Dana Turner] is missing. Do you know anything about that?
ML: Yeah, that’s another big story as well. I won’t comment on that.
BC: Is she in Kamloops?
ML: I can’t say anything on that right now.
BC: They found her rental car. Do you know where that was located?
ML: No, no I don’t. Do they have any other details on that?
BC: No, they’re not saying anything. No one has heard from [Dana].
ML: Are they openly accusing me of that on the news?
BC: No. They said though that you stabbed her in the head at your apartment, back in June  — but you got a conditional sentence and were released …
ML: Yeah, there was an issue about that. It was an accident and I was released after about two court dates.
BC: When are you due in court next?
ML: I’m not actually sure. We’re still building up to a bail hearing right now.
BC: Do you hope to get bail; how’s that looking?
ML: Yes I do.
BC: Your missing girlfriend [Dana Turner] has not been in touch with her children, nor her mother [Wendy Yurko] — so no one knows where she is, and she’s supposed to be taking medication for her thyroid. She had checked into the West Harvest Inn Motel in the west end. According to a video surveillance tape, there’s a guy with her. Was that you?
ML: I’m not releasing anything.
BC: Then there’s a videotape of Turner at a gasoline station nearby — I believe it’s Domo — but she doesn’t seem to be under any duress. People don’t know what the hell to make of it … there doesn’t appear to be an abduction going on but of course, people would think you’re a suspect if you were convicted of an assault on her previous to that. That would be automatic.
ML: Yeah, I was worried about that at first.
BC: You didn’t feel they were trying to set you up in this sting; what was going on?
ML: Yes, it was a sting operation.
BC: How did you know that?
ML: I found out after I was arrested.
BC: So you didn’t know at the time …
ML: No, I didn’t find out until after I was arrested.
You’ll notice there’s not a word from Lindsay about his girlfriend, Dana, not anything about her being a threat … and not a word about how bad he feels about killing her. In fact, he avoids talking about her.
HEAR MARK LINDSAY AUDIO
Here’s that short interview with Mark Lindsay recorded on Saturday, 1 October 2011.
At the time of that interview, I was not aware that Lindsay had murdered his girlfriend … although I had my suspicions. I was dancing and fishing for information about two things: a police sting operation, but more important, the whereabouts of Dana Turner.
As you will hear on the recording, Lindsay was also looking for information. He wanted to know what police were saying about him and his missing girlfriend.
You can judge for yourself if Mark Lindsay is crazy, or crazy like a fox and using mental illness as a ploy to beat a murder rap. The recording runs just under 9 minutes.
LINDSAY’S PRELIMINARY HEARING
Throughout January 2013, Mark Lindsay appeared in court in Red Deer for a preliminary hearing on a charge of second-degree murder. The idea of a prelim, as they’re known, is to determine if there’s enough evidence to send someone to trial.
On Friday, 31 January 2013 a judge ruled that Lindsay should stand trial for the murder of Dana Turner.
Lindsay’s lawyer tried to convince the judge his client was a nut bar, but the judge didn’t buy it.
In December 2012, the RCMP told reporter Tim Petruk they wanted his notes from the two jailhouse interviews he did with Lindsay about a year earlier. Petruk was then served with a subpoena and ordered to show up at Lindsay’s preliminary hearing.
Petruk appeared in court in Red Deer on 16 January 2013. The reporter was on the stand for about half an hour.
On 18 December 2012, I received this email from Joy Brown of the Crown Prosecutor’s office in Red Deer, Alberta …
The second paragraph reads: “We are prosecuting Mark LINDSAY for the homicide of Dana TURNER and have issued a subpoena for you to testify for us at the Preliminary Hearing that starts on January 8th, 2013. The RCMP will be serving you sometime soon.” That never happened, at least not in 2013.
Had I been served with a subpoena, I would have been a hostile witness. The reason is that the media is neutral. We don’t assist the Crown, nor the Defence. It’s my belief police should never compromise journalists.
A JUDGE RULES …
On 28 March 2013, Canadian Press reported that Mark Lindsay was found not criminally responsible for ramming a pencil in the eye of a fellow inmate — and stabbing an undercover Mountie. The key words here are not criminally responsible.
That doesn’t mean Lindsay didn’t do it, it just means he couldn’t be held responsible because he might have been nuts.
According to the news agency, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley warned that Mark Damien Lindsay is “exceptionally dangerous.” No shit.
Lindsay was being held in a psychiatric hospital in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia.
SET FOR TRIAL … AND ANOTHER SUBPOENA
On the morning of Thursday, 1 October 2015 I received a phone call from the lead RCMP investigator on the Mark Lindsay murder case, Corporal Patrick Frey. Frey wanted to deliver a subpoena. I was wanted as a witness at Lindsay’s murder trial set for early 2016.
About half an hour after I provided Frey with my home address, the officer arrived in plain clothes at my door to deliver the subpoena. Christ, here we go again. Reporters in the crosshairs of the police for doing our job.
I advised officer Frey that I would be a hostile witness. In other words, I wouldn’t be talking to Crown prosecutors before taking the stand. If they want to know what I have to say, they’ll have to wait until I testify.
As I indicated to officer Frey, what I have to say will only help the defence as, given their track records, I don’t have a lot of respect for either the RCMP — or our criminal justice system.
Mark Lindsay’s trial was set for 16 February to 11 March 2016 in Red Deer, Alberta. He faced three charges: First or second-degree murder, interference with a dead body … and obstruction of justice.
TURNER’S LAST MOMENTS
On Tuesday, 16 February 2016, Mark Lindsay’s murder trial in Red Deer heard some gruesome details about how Dana Turner died.
According to reporter Janice Johnston of the CBC, Mark Lindsay — in an agreed statement of facts — admitted he killed his girlfriend on [Monday] 15 August 2011. He said they were doing drugs in a parked car when he rammed a pencil in her eye. He also put a shoelace around her neck and tightened it. Lindsay wasn’t done. He then ran over Turner’s body. Twice.
Lindsay eventually made his way to a deserted area about 10 kilometers east of Innisfail, Alberta, where Turner’s body was dumped in a thicket. [note photos above]. It was not a “forested” area, as some reports have suggested.
On Thursday, 18 February 2016, the trial heard testimony from the parents of Mark Lindsay — former Edmonton Police Service Chief John Lindsay and his wife, Louise. The Lindsays adopted Mark when he was 2-years old and that when his birth mother was pregnant, she drank and smoked.
The lad was diagnosed as having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
Raising a teenage Mark Damien appears to have been numerous trips to hell and back for John and Louise Lindsay, and things have only gotten worse since he started piling on to his criminal record — the latest being a cold-blooded murder.
On Friday, 13 May 2016 Justice Eldon Simpson found Mark Lindsay guilty of 2nd-degree murder, meaning he didn’t buy Lindsay’s argument that he was nuts when he killed Turner. [Source: CBC and Global-TV]
A second-degree murder conviction meant the killer wouldn’t have a shot at parole for anywhere from 10 to 25-years. A more precise number would be sorted out in late October 2016.
GRIEVING, ANGRY MOTHER
Wendy Yurko, Dana’s Mom, told CBC reporter Janice Johnston she’s pleased with the verdict but still ticked over how the courts handled the first attack on her daughter. “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,” she said, “my daughter would be joining me for dinner today. That is disgusting.”“There aren’t that many people who know what it’s like to have a child almost murdered and then murdered in 50 days.”
On 27 October 2016, a judge told Lindsay he’d have to wait 16 years before he gets a shot at parole.