Man sentenced to death by lethal injection for double murder at auto parts store
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - After being found guilty for a 2011 double murder at an auto parts store in Baton Rouge, a judge has sentenced Lee Turner to death by lethal injection.
Turner and his attorney were in court Monday and filed a motion for a new trial. The motion for a new trial was denied and the sentencing phase continued.
"In my opinion, based on what this person did, this is the only appropriate, just decision," said East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore.
In May, Turner was 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. A few days later, a jury recommended he be sentenced to death.
"This defendant has never accepted responsibility, never reached out whatsoever to this office or the victims' families and now seeks again to blame everyone else for his behavior, which is completely unacceptable," Moore said.
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.
Coming out of court Monday, members of Gurtner's family described the last four years as very long.
"We all miss him tremendously, we always will," said Gurtner's step-father Nick Dunman. "I don't know if we ever will have closure, but we will start healing now."
"It was a senseless killing," said Gurtner's wife, Elizabeth, who described her husband as fun-loving and a man who would give you the shirt off his back.
Elizabeth said she has attended all but two court appointments during the trial period.
"For me, this is closure. After four and a half years, I'm ready to go and leave this behind me," she added.
She said she wishes Chaney's wife could have been at the court Monday too.
"I believe that would have meant a lot to her too," she said.
According to prosecutors during the trial, 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 said.
Chaney was shot once in the back of the head. Gurtner was shot 11 times.
After the shooting, 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.
Turner showed up for work at 8 a.m. the morning after the shooting.
It has been five years since Louisiana executed a prisoner. Gerald Bordelon was executed in January 2010. He was convicted of strangling his 12-year-old step-daughter, Courtney LeBlanc, in 2006 and dumping her body in the woods.
The appeals process for Monday's death penalty ruling begins automatically. Moore said precedent suggests it could take up to 20 or 25 years before he is executed.
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