Jury finds Lee Turner guilty in auto parts store double murder, faces death penalty

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Closing arguments were given Monday morning and by 1:15 p.m., the jury reached a guilty verdict in the auto parts store double murder trial in Baton Rouge.

Lee Turner Jr., 25, of Baton Rouge, has been found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of two men during a robbery at CarQuest Auto Parts on Airline Highway in 2011. Turner, who worked at the Plank Road CarQuest location, faces the death penalty. The death penalty phase begins at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Edward Gurtner, 43, and Randy Chaney, 54, were found dead in a back room of the store on March 27, 2011. Both were helping out at the store, but worked at other CarQuest locations.

District Court Judge Richard Anderson is presiding over the case.

"He intended to kill them and he did it for selfish reasons," prosecutor Tracey Barbera said in her closing arguments.

According to prosecutors, Turner had 13 to 14 bullets in the gun, in his pocket, when he entered the CarQuest.

"Lee Turner had a plan...he stole, he killed, he intended to do everything that he did," prosecutors added.

Chaney was shot once, in the back of the head. Barbera layed out seven evidence envelopes in front of the jury. Each containing a bullet removed from Gurtner's body. Four other bullets went through Gurtner's body.

They said Turner got away with $350. Officers found the gun Turner used behind the business. They also found the store's bank bag in the trash at his apartment.

Defense attorneys said Turner has never been in trouble before and he wanted to work, even showing up at 8 a.m. the next morning for his shift. They added Turner did not plan this. According to the defense, Turner didn't plan to kill them, but he may have planned to steal.

"Not every case is a death penalty case," said Turner's attorney, Margaret Lagattuta. "This is a life penalty. This is not Derrick Todd Lee. He needs to go to Angola for the rest of his life."

Defense attorneys told jurors they could have found Turner guilty of a lesser charge, like second-degree murder or manslaughter.

"He's not an animal that needs to be put down," defense attorneys said.

"He sure put down Eddie and Randy," prosecutor Tracey Barbera said in response. "He knew he unloaded the gun clip."

She added that the jury should not insult the victims' families.

"This is their Derrick Todd Lee. This is their Sandy Hook. This is their Boston Massacre," she said.

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