Wayne Kramer, the ex-MC5 guitarist, finished his keynote address at the North Park Music Thing and then opened it up for questions. A middle-aged blonde in a black dress went first. “I’m Jeanette Bazzell Turner. I was married to Ike Turner.” She talked about Turner’s prison sentence and agreed with Kramer — he, like Ike, also did a little time behind bars — that playing music is therapy for prisoners.
Then Turner sobbed and told the room that Ike Turner didn’t really die from a cocaine overdose. “There was another substance in his bloodstream, and the medical examiner won’t talk about it.”
Ike Turner died suddenly on December 12, 2007, at the rented home on Viewpoint Drive in San Marcos that he once shared with Jeanette Bazzell Turner. He was 76. The medical examiner ruled that Turner’s death was the result of an accidental cocaine poisoning.
“They put in his autopsy report that he died of cocaine,” Jeanette Turner told me later at a South Park bistro. “But it was that psychotropic drug Seroquel...and it blew his heart up.” She said that Ike Turner’s caregiver, Falina Rasool, told her she had administered the drug sometime during the last two days of Turner’s life, 125 mg of it, which Ms. Turner thinks was an overdose.
According to Drugs.com, Seroquel is an antipsychotic medicine used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in both adults and children.
“His autopsy report said he had three broken ribs, and nobody wanted to talk about that, either.” Ike Turner was a relapsed cocaine addict who also suffered from high blood pressure, COPD, and emphysema. “This is what disturbs me,” she says later. “At the [settlement hearing] the attorneys don’t mention the word ‘murder.’ I didn’t realize he’d been murdered until after the fact.”
Jeanette Bazzell Turner is 50 years old. “Ike and I were business partners for 19 years,” she says. She opens a three-ring binder full of legal documents: fictitious name filings, bank statements, tax forms. Her name is on everything. “Our mailbox money? During our marriage, it averaged around $160,000 a year alone on proceeds from his catalog.” But, she says that at times the amount could swell to half a million dollars, depending on who licensed Ike’s songs for their own projects. For example, she says, “Ike got 250,000 dollars alone from Salt-n-Pepa when they sampled ‘I’m Blue.’”
These days, Turner says she does a little real estate and that she still performs, albeit infrequently. She won’t tell me exactly where she lives. “I’m afraid for my life.” She thinks Ike Turner was murdered for his money. She was awarded half of his estate for a period of time following his death up to February 2012. Even though no money has appeared in her mailbox, she fears she might be on the same hit list that Ike was on. “They aren’t giving me what belongs to me, and I’m gonna fight ’em for it. The judge hasn’t seen everything yet. That’s the deal.”