Victim’s Family Complaints Delay Clemency Hearing for Convicted Murderer From 1980s Macoupin County Slaying

By Benjamin Cox on June 14, 2022 at 1:46pm

The Illinois Prison Review Board is under fire for failing to notify a victim’s family about a planned clemency hearing for a convicted murderer.

The Illinois Prisoner Review Board had been scheduled to hear a petition Wednesday from Robert Turner. Turner, formerly of Wilsonville, was convicted in 1986 along with his brother Michael Turner and Daniel Hines for the rape and stabbing death of then 16-year old Bridget Drobney of Downers Grove.

In July 1985, the 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 to 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. Former Governor George Ryan abolished the death penalty in Illinois in 2003, giving the older Turner a life sentence.

The Illinois Prison Project, which is allegedly representing Turner, says it is postponing the hearing. WMAY says the Drobney Family and other objectors to Turner’s clemency have been invited to a dialogue in the interim. The Drobney Family told the Chicago Tribune they do not feel that Turner has been rehabilitated or is remorseful for his crimes. There’s no indication when the clemency hearing might be rescheduled.