Jury recommends death penalty for Lee Turner Jr.

Jury recommends death penalty for Lee Turner Jr.

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A jury has recommended the death penalty for Lee Turner Jr. after being convicted of killing two auto parts store workers during a robbery.

Attorneys gave their closing arguments Friday morning in the penalty phase of the Lee Turner Jr. death penalty trial.

The same jury convicted the 25-year-old of two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Edward Gurtner, 43, and Randy Chaney, 54, at the CarQuest Auto Parts on Airline Highway in 2011.

The prosecutor told the jury two people were killed that day, but "a murder was born" and a "murder" never dies. The family has to live with that every day.

The jurors had to reach a unanimous decision for Turner to get the death penalty.

District Attorney Hillar Moore says there are no winners and losers on a day like this.

"I feel for this family," said Hillar Moore. "They have been in this process for four years now and it's been a really difficult road. Having met with them many times I'm sure this will give them a little solace but probably not a whole lot."

Lee Turner's family cried out loud in the courtroom as the jury's decision was revealed. The jury consisted mostly of women and left the families on both sides in tears.

"I believe that what it comes down to it- it was a complete lack of emotion and culpability and that's one thing this family would have liked to have seen for him just to admit 'I'm sorry that I did wrong' he did not have it in him," Moore said.

Lola Chaney's husband was one of the two killed at CarQuest Auto Parts. "They look at the facts and lack of emotion from him, and they ruled justly," said Chaney.

"As I'm older I tend to hide a lot," said Elizabeth Gurtner. "My son was there that day, he is the one I focus myself on and now he can hopefully start to heal."

It has been five years since Louisiana executed a prisoner. Gerald Bordelon was executed in January of 2010. He was convicted of strangling his 12-year-old step-daughter, Courtney LeBlanc, in 2006 and dumping her body in the woods.

Bordelon is the only execution to take place with Bobby Jindal as Governor.

Turner will be formally sentenced in August.


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