Brutal murder of Maj. David Turenne by wife and her lover investigated in On the Case with Paula Zahn

Mugshot of Ralph Crompton
Ralph Crompton was sentenced to first-degree murder and imprisoned for life. Pic credit: Florida Dept. of Corrections

Major David Turenne, of the Canadian Airforce, was found brutally beaten to death with a claw hammer on his front lawn in Panama City, Florida, in 1996. Police described his death as particularly cruel and gruesome, and it shocked a community that was not used to this level of violent crime.

At first, police were baffled as to the motive. Initially, police thought of two possibilities: firstly, was it a senseless but completely random act of violence? Secondly, was it something to do with his work at the air force base? His job included handling some sensitive data; police wondered if this was a case of international espionage.

In truth, there was a third possibility, David was the victim in a love triangle. His wife, Monique, was having an affair with U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Ralph Crompton. Police believe the pair plotted together to kill David.

Crompton traveled down from South Carolina, where he was living at the time, specifically intending to murder David having already discussed it with Monique. Prosecutors called it a crime motivated by “lust and jealousy.”

Crompton was charged with first-degree murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Monique, a Canadian citizen, fled to Manitoba, where she fought extradition for seven years before eventually being charged with second-degree murder.

Both Crompton and Turenne have argued that they played lesser roles in the murder, and both have appealed their sentences.

Monique has admitted to setting up her husband by sending him on an errand but argued that Crompton was only supposed to “rough up” her husband.

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Crompton claims the whole plan was Monique’s; he says she was the one who beat David to death. He says Monique murdered her husband for a life insurance pay-out worth $600,000; he calls her “cold-hearted.” However, he said he is guilty of manslaughter through culpable negligence because he left the scene as Monique was beating her husband to death.

However, police didn’t believe either of their versions of the truth, and both Crompton and Turenne remain in prison.

See this murder examined in On the Case with Paula Zahn at 8/7c on Investigation Discovery.

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