Ever wonder if Minnesota has been terrorized by a serial killer? Or perhaps Minnesota is where a serial killer calls home? This blog series will explore potential serial killers that either have roots in Minnesota or have been accused of preying on Minnesota residents. Part two covers Joseph Donald Ture, Jr.
Joseph Ture was born on February 7, 1951. He grew up in the St. Paul, Minnesota area. His parents divorced when he was 10, leaving his father with sole custody. However, Ture spent most of his childhood in an orphanage and a reformatory. He spent about 6 months in the U.S. Marine Corps when he was around 18 years old before returning to the St. Paul area. He worked various jobs, usually related to cars. Ture was considered low income and sometimes had to live out of his car.
On October 30, 1980, Ture was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting two women and a 13-year-old girl. While in custody for these charges, Ture was questioned about the murder of Diane Edwards, a 19-year-old University of Minnesota student. At least five witnesses of Edwards’s abduction reported seeing a vehicle similar to Ture’s station wagon at the scene.
In April 1981, Ture was convicted of sexual assault and kidnapping, and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Later, Ture was convicted of the murder of Edwards and received a life sentence. While in prison, Ture confessed to killing Alice Huling and her three children in 1978. However, he soon after recanted this confession.
In 1996, while still in prison, Ture was indicted for the murder of Marlys Wohlenhaus in 1979. After Ture appeared on 48 Hours to profess his innocence, multiple women came forward to identify him as the man who sexually assaulted them in the 1970s.
Things continued to go downhill for Ture. In 1997, he was convicted of Wohlenhaus’ murder and received an additional life sentence. In 1999, Ture’s cellmate reported Ture had bragged to him about killing Joan Bierschbach, but he was never charged with this crime. In 2000, he was convicted of the Huling murders and received four additional life sentences for each one of the Hulings. Ture’s convictions for the Huling and Wolenhaus murders were upheld by the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2001 and 2004, respectively.
Ture has been incarcerated since September 23, 1981. He is currently serving multiple life sentences at the Stillwater Correctional Facility in Bayport, Minnesota. He continues to maintain his innocence, leading some to question whether he really committed these crimes after all.
If you enjoyed this blog, make sure to catch up on this series by reading Part 1 – Paul Michael Stephani.