Family of Fond du Lac girl killed in 1973 tries to stop killer's release

FOND DU LAC, Wis. (AP) -- The family of a young eastern Wisconsin girl who was killed on Halloween night more than four decades ago is trying to stop her killer from being let out of prison.

Lisa Ann French was 9 years old when she kissed her parents goodbye and ran out of the house to trick or treat in Fond du Lac in 1973. She never returned home. Her body was found a few days later in a garbage bag that had been tossed in a field.

An autopsy found the cause of death to be asphyxiation. A pathologist said the girl, who was sexually assaulted, died from shock.

A neighbor, Gerald Miles Turner Jr., was convicted of killing her.

"She used to play with Gerald's baby," Lisa's younger sister, Susan De Pauw, said. "He lived with his girlfriend then and Lisa used to push the baby in a stroller down the street."

Turner is due to be released from Racine Correctional Institution on Feb. 7, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Lisa's mother, Maryann Gehring, launched an online petition to keep the 68-year-old Turner behind bars.

"Halloween marked the 44th anniversary of Lisa's death, and to this day, I feel in my heart he will commit another violent sex crime if he is released," Gehring wrote in the petition. "Turner's current and prior actions indicate that he is still a dangerous person and should not be released."

Turner, who was 25 years old at the time of the trial, was originally sentenced to 38.5 years in prison for second-degree murder, enticing a child for immoral purposes and acts of sexual perversion.

Turner has been released from prison twice, but was sent back to prison for another 15 years in 2003 for parole violations after pornographic images were found on his computer. He is currently being evaluated to see if he could be held under a civil commitment as a sexually violent person.
 

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