By Jennifer McRae

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)Kelly Turner pleaded not guilty in court on Wednesday in the murder of her daughter Olivia Gant. Turner had claimed her daughter had a terminal illness and had raised money through GoFundMe and other means. Olivia died in 2017.

Kelly Gant, a.k.a Kelly Turner (credit: Douglas County)

In 2012, Olivia’s mother brought her to Children’s Hospital Colorado for treatment of constipation. It would evolve into surgeries and heavy doses of narcotics over some 1,000 visits in five years.

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Olivia was well known in the community as “Batgirl” in a scenario planned by the Make-A-Wish foundation, police and fire departments.

At the party, Turner told reporters, “She said, ‘I want to battle with Batman! We’re going to battle Captain Hook and save others.’”

The investigation into how Olivia died began after doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado became suspicious when Turner brought in her older daughter because of “bone pain.”

Olivia Gant

Olivia Gant (credit: CBS)

Olivia’s body was exhumed from her grave. An autopsy was performed, but the cause of death was inconclusive. Her death certificate states she had chronic intestinal failure, autism and seizure disorder.

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This isn’t Turner’s first brush with the law. CBS4 obtained Turner’s criminal records from Texas. They show she was arrested in 1998 for aggravated sexual assault on a child. She plea bargained the case to felony injury to a child and served several years in prison.

Turner also had convictions for impersonation of an emergency medical technician, forgery and probation violation.

Besides first-degree murder, Turner faces charges of child abuse, theft, charitable fraud, attempted influence of a public servant and forgery charges in Douglas County. Turner’s trial is scheduled to begin May 3, 2021.

Kelly Turner appeared in court via video link to jail. She was wearing a mask, orange jump suit and hair pulled back. She is being held in lieu of $250,000 bond and did not speak during the hearing.

Both sides are requesting 150 prospective jurors due to publicity connected to case and length of trial, possibly up to 3 weeks. There may be a special questionnaire.

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There was concern expressed by Douglas County District Court Judge Patricia Herron that there may be difficulty getting jurors due to overlap with the STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting trial of Devon Erickson.

Jennifer McRae