CRIME
09/17/2012 04:02 pm ET

Robert Turner, Convicted Murderer, Dies Of Flesh-Eating Bacteria

A convicted murderer in Chicago died Friday of flesh-eating bacteria, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Robert J. Turner, 32, was serving a 40-year prison sentence for fatally shooting a man during a home invasion in 1998. Chicago police say Turner, then 18, and two other men entered the home of 18-year-old Derek Miles to steal stereo equipment and other valuables.

When Miles confronted the three men with a gun, one of the men fatally shot him. All three were charged in his death.

On Wednesday, Turner was transferred to the University of Illinois Medical Center, where he was being treated for several ailments, including cirrhosis of the liver.

An autopsy performed Sunday found that Turner died of blood poisoning and necrotizing fasciitis. His death was ruled natural.

Necrotizing fasciitis, also called necrotizing soft tissue infection, is a rare infection caused by bacteria releasing toxins that destroy skin, muscle, and underlying tissue.

Necrotizing fasciitis can be caused by many varieties of bacteria. The most well-known -- and most severe -- form of this infection is caused by Streptococcus pyogenes, commonly referred to as "flesh-eating bacteria."

Aimee Copeland, a 24-year-old from Georgia, gained national attention when she contracted the disease last May after cutting herself on a homemade zipline. She has lost her left leg, right foot, and both hands to the infection.

Two Michigan women were also diagnosed with necrotizing fascilitis this summer. Crystal Spencer, 33, contracted the bacteria in June after having a boil removed at a hospital. Spencer ultimately died, though it's unclear whether her death was a result of her bacteria or complications from diabetes.

Kaylee Queen, 18, who was diagnosed in in August, may have contracted the bacteria from shaving, though doctors are not completely sure. Queen survived the infection, but her recovery is expected to take several months.

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