Winnipeg woman to be extradited


December 16, 2004 

OTTAWA (CP) - The country's highest court refused Thursday to hear a Winnipeg woman's last-ditch bid to avoid extradition to the United States to face a murder charge.

The Supreme Court's dismissal of Monique Turenne's application for leave to appeal ends an eight-year legal fight, leaving her no choice but to return to Florida to stand trial for the death of her husband. No reason was given for the court's decision, as is custom with leave applications.

Lawyers had argued that sending Turenne back to the United States would violate her charter rights.

But the Manitoba Court of Appeal dismissed those arguments last summer, saying Turenne failed to establish that the extradition judge erred in rejecting her bid to stay in Canada.

Her request to have the Supreme Court hear the case was considered a long shot because the Appeal Court was unanimous.

Turenne was charged with first-degree murder after her husband, Canadian Forces Maj. David Turenne, was beaten to death outside their home in Panama City, Fla., in February 1996.

Ralph Crompton, who police allege was Turenne's lover in a triangle gone wrong, was arrested immediately after the slaying and is currently serving a life sentence in Florida. His appeal has been denied.

Turenne has always maintained her innocence.

Prosecutors maintain Crompton acted on her instructions and Turenne confessed to Florida police she set her husband up to be attacked by her lover.

During his 1996 testimony in court, Crompton implicated Turenne in the plot to kill her husband and even suggested she wielded the claw hammer that killed him.

Turenne has said she's ready to stand trial, but wants to keep the case in Canada on a reduced charge of manslaughter.

"I'm never going to get a fair trial down there," Turenne said after the Manitoba Court of Appeal decision last July.

"The deck has been stacked against me.

"But I'm not afraid to stand trial. I'd do it tomorrow if I could. I want to clear my name. But the trial should be held in Winnipeg."

Neither Turenne nor her lawyers were immediately available for comment.

Turenne was first ordered extradited to Florida by Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench in October 1999.

Her lawyers immediately appealed the decision to both the Manitoba Court of Appeal and the federal justice minister. The case stalled for several years until former justice minister Martin Cauchon finally signed the extradition order in March 2003.

The appeal was argued last spring.

Turenne has been living in Winnipeg with her children on bail conditions.