On November 4, 1973, an event shook the entire American community, bringing visible consequences still today. This is the story of the Halloween Killer.
Halloween Night 1973
Fond du Lac, Winsconsin (USA), early 70s, Halloween night. The children are definitely more free than today and, at six in the afternoon, Lisa French, 9 years old, is knocking on the doors of the neighborhood trick or treatin’.
Lisa is alone, after all she doesn’t have to go far from her house and she lives in a quiet neighborhood. She knocks on the doors of neighbors she knows well and the first two houses are going great: she makes a booty of candy and chocolates. The third house she knocks at is that of Gerald Turner, a twenty-five year old family friend whom Lisa knows well. While she is holding his open bag in front of him, ready to receive sweets, with a smile printed on his face, Gerald Turner opens the door. Turner grabs little Lisa and takes her to his bedroom, where he tears her clothes off and rapes her mercilessly. After consuming the violence, the man strangles her.
At 7:15 p.m. Turner’s girlfriend and daughter return home after having been to a Halloween party. The woman notices that Turner keeps going to his bedroom, but she just thinks that he is not feeling well. She doesn’t thinks too much of it and soon after she goes to her mother’s.
Turner then hides little Lisa’s body in a garbage bag. A second bag will be used for her clothes. Then, he abandons the bags in a dirt road, just outside the city.
Finding the body
It’s 10 p.m. when Lisa’s parents start worrying about her not coming home. After calling several relatives and friends, they call the police who start the investigation. For four days, the search continues until a farmer makes a macabre discovery. In a street near a field on his farm, the man finds the bag containing Lisa’s body.
Police investigations begin and, a few months later, lead to the questioning of Turner. The police ask him where he was on Halloween night, but the man’s answer has several contradictions. The police then ask him if he wants to take the lie detector and Turner agrees. After the result of the polygraph shows that Turner is lying, the man confesses the crime.
Arrest and Conviction of the Halloween Killer
Despite being charged with first-degree murder, the judge condemns him for second-degree murder, indecent liberties with a child under the age of 16 and abnormal sexual perversion. He was sentenced to 38.5 years in prison, but was released in 1994, only 17 years later, on probation. In 2003 he was arrested again for possession of sexually explicit material, which violated the conditions for his probation.
In order to prevent other sexual predators from being released, Turner’s Law was approved in 1994, whereby perpetrators of violent sexual crimes are committed in a safe treatment centre when they ask for parole if they pose a threat to society.
They will try to have him registered as a violent sexual harasser, but the request will be denied by the judge. In 2018, he was released again and detained in a supervised residential facility in Juneau County during the battle in court for his location.
To date, it is not known whether the man will be released permanently.
As a result of the chilling story of the Halloween killer and Lisa French, children in Fond du Lac can no longer go to trick or treatin’ alone. The activity is carried out on the Sunday before Halloween until 17.30, by children accompanied by their parents.
Halloween should be a happy holiday for the children, where they can have fun with their friends and receive sweets. The naivety of parents in the 70s and the wickedness of a man have forever changed the spirit of this holiday in Fond du Lac where, even today, the name of Lisa French echoes as a sad warning.