Clemency Hearing Set In 1985 Macoupin Convicted Murderer’s Case

By Benjamin Cox on November 23, 2022 at 5:49am

Three Macoupin County State’s Attorneys have opposed the release of an inmate initially sentenced to death in a 1985 murder.

The Illinois Prisoner Review Board is scheduled to hear a petition of executive clemency for 63 year old Robert G. Turner. Turner, formerly of Wilsonville, who was convicted for the rape and stabbing death of 16-year old Bridget Drobney of Downers Grove in July 1985.

In July 1985, three men used a flashing red light on their vehicle to pull Drobney’s car over and told her she had to go with them because she was speeding along a back road in rural Gillespie in southern Macoupin County. The case would later lead to a new state law sponsored by the late State Senator Vince DeMuzio making it illegal for the public to possess flashing red lights that impersonate police. Governor Jim Thompson signed the bill into law in July 1986.

Bridget Drobney’s body was found four days later in a corn field, twelve miles away from the initial encounter with the three men. Michael Turner confessed committing the crime to his sister, who in turn, reported it to police. The younger Turner cooperated with police and was given a 5 year sentence for concealment of a homicidal death; Hines got life without parole; and Robert Turner, who admitted to killing Bridget as she pleaded for her life, was sent to death row after being convicted by a jury of first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and criminal sexual assault. Former Governor George Ryan abolished the death penalty in Illinois in 2003, giving the older Turner a life sentence.

Current Macoupin County State’s Attorney Jordan Garrison along with former Macoupin County State’s Attorneys Ed Rees and Vince Moreth have filed documents on the motion opposing Turner’s release. All three attorneys recounted the heinous details of the crime, reverberations of which they say can still be felt in Macoupin County today.

The Illinois Prison Project filed the petition on Turner’s behalf back in June, but it was delayed after Drobney’s family complained that they had not received proper notice of any clemency hearing in the case.

Turner’s petition is now scheduled to be heard on January 10th in a public hearing at the Sadie Forum in Chicago.