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Crime News Kill or Be Killed

Dentist Said He Fatally Slashed Wife's Throat After She Stabbed Him with 7-Foot Spear Near His Groin

Police received a frantic cry for help at a North Carolina residence. Jennifer and Kirk Turner, a well-to-do couple, had both been stabbed.

By Joe Dziemianowicz

Police received a frantic cry for help at a residence in the small town of Mocksville, North Carolina on September 12, 2007, at 9:45 p.m. Jennifer and Kirk Turner, a well-to-do couple, had been injured in an attack, according to their friend Greg Smithson, who called 911.

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“When law enforcement arrived, they found three people on the scene,” digital forensics investigator Derek Ellington told Kill or Be Killed, airing Saturdays at 9/8c p.m. on Oxygen. “Greg Smithson was performing CPR on an unconscious Jennifer Turner.”

EMS personnel took over and tried to resuscitate Jennifer, 54, who had a knife wound to her throat. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Paramedics tended to Kirk, then 50, who’d fashioned a tourniquet around his upper leg and was clinging to life. Officers asked Kirk what happened. “She stabbed me with a spear,” he's heard saying in a police recording. He kept repeating “she stabbed me,” said Ellington. Despite his severe wounds, Kirk pulled through.

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Investigators learned that Kirk had split in the wake of his extramarital affair. He was living in an apartment near the family home.

Smithson, an auto mechanic, told police that he and Kirk rehabbed old cars together. They had come to Jennifer’s house with her permission to collect tools, according to Kirk’s defense attorney Brad Bannon.

Jennifer Turner featured on Kill Or Be Killed episode 112

Who stabbed Jennifer Turner?

While in a workshop that was detached from the main house, a conversation between Jennifer and her husband Kirk “got heated,” Winston-Salem Journal reporter Michael Hewlett told Kill or Be Killed.

Kirk said his estranged wife attacked him with a 7-foot spear and “stabbed him in an area just below his groin,” Hewlett added.

Kirk said “he was in fear with his life," Hewlett explained, "and that the only thing that he could do was defend himself.” And so he “slashed her throat," Hewlett added. Jennifer was stabbed with a pocket knife Kirk carried all the time.

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Kirk and Jennifer Turner’s relationship history

Investigators learned that Jennifer was already divorced when she met Kirk. They eloped and they eventually had two children.

The family moved to North Carolina, where Kirk established a dental practice. They bought a farm so Jennifer had a place where she could raise horses, according to her friend Anne Gould.

Cracks in the couple’s relationship began to show. Jennifer suspected that Kirk was being unfaithful, according to Jennifer’s friend Nancy Monda.

Jennifer hired a private eye who confirmed her suspicions. Kirk was having an affair with a woman who was their personal banker.

Kirk moved out in June 2006, which was 15 months prior to Jennifer’s fatal stabbing. Per a judge’s order, he was paying $20,000 a month for upkeep of the farm.

The split was rancorous. Jennifer filed a civil complaint against Kirk’s mistress in an alienation of affection lawsuit.

“North Carolina is one of the six states that have alienation of affection laws,” said Ellington. “If somebody interferes with your marriage, there could be a financial penalty.”

Interviews with witnesses indicated that Kirk and Jennifer’s relationship showed signs of violence.

the Spear Head used as the murder weapon in Kill Or Be Killed episode 112

Forensic evidence leads to Kirk Turner’s arrest

A month after the incident, the forensic evidence report by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, which had joined the case, came in.

“They were able to determine the arterial spray was at most 23 inches high,” legal analyst Lis Wiehl told Kill or Be Killed

Blood spatter evidence showed that Jennifer was already on the ground when she was killed. Investigators believed that had enough to make a case for murder.

On December 13, 2007, Kirk was charged with first-degree murder. He spent a month in jail before coming up with a $1 million bond.

The defense team put together their case. E-mails between the Turners turned out to be key evidence. In the communications, Jennifer criticized Kirk's relationship with his girlfriend, writing, “It’s only about your pretty parts,” said Ellington.

“Pretty parts” was Jennifer's term for his genitals, according to Kill or Be Killed. “In Kirk’s statements, she had said while she was attacking him that she was going to get his pretty parts,” said Bannon. His wounds were inches from his groin.

RELATED: "Abused" Wife Fatally Shot Husband, Had Body Buried on Farm a Week After Taking Out Protective Order

Jennifer’s first marriage became part of the case, according to Kill or Be Killed. An affidavit from Jennifer’s first husband stating that her obsession with horses ended their marriage also became key.

Before the deadly altercation, Kirk told Jennifer he was going to use that document to show that the same reason ended their marriage, not his affair, according to Bannon.

The circumstantial evidence “painted a pretty clear picture of whose rage took over,” said Bannon. “It wasn't Kirk. It was Jennifer.”

Forensic evidence on the pocket knife and spear involved in the case proved inconclusive, so investigators focused elsewhere to build the case against Kirk.

Jennifer's therapist said that Jennifer had discussed being afraid of Kirk, according to Wiehl. Jennifer had filled out a protective order, barring Kirk from her property.

The trial begins

In July 2009, the trial began. The prosecution pointed to the $20,000 spousal support and suit against Kirk’s girlfriend as motives for murder.

Prosecutors argued that Kirk wasn’t attacked. They asserted that “because of his medical background, he knew exactly where to staff himself,” said Hewlett. They pointed out evidence about the blood spatter being near the floor.

The defense argued that Kirk and Jennifer’s talk escalated and she stabbed him with the 7-foot spear. “When jurors saw it for the first time, their eyes went wide,” said Bannon.

Both sides used blood evidence at the scene, on weapons and on clothing, in different ways to make their cases. 

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The Turners’ daughter testified for the prosecution, while their son spoke in court about his dad’s good character.

The siblings remain divided. “This whole family was just ripped apart by what happened,” said Wiehl.

Smithson also testified. When he took the stand, prosecutors suggested “at the 11th hour that he was actually somehow involved in this killing,” said Bannon.

Kirk testified on his own behalf and said that he was forced to end Jennifer's life to save his own.

On August 20, 2009, the jury returned with a verdict of not guilty by reason of self-defense, the Winston-Salem Journal reported.

To learn more about the case, which is featured in the “Spear and Loathing” episode, watch Kill or Be Killed, airing Saturdays at 9/8c p.m. on Oxygen.