- Associated Press - Friday, May 8, 2015

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - An East Baton Rouge Parish jury Friday recommended death for Lee Turner Jr. convicted for gunning down two CarQuest Auto Parts employees during a 2011 robbery at the store.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1cwmeVo ) state District Judge Richard Anderson will formally sentence Turner on Aug. 10.

NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports (https://bit.ly/1KrujFe ) it took jurors less than two hours to decide Turner should die for the deaths of Edward Gurtner III, 43, of Denham Springs, and Randy Chaney, 55, of Greenwell Springs.

A row of Turner’s family members sobbed as the verdict was read, and one young man collapsed in tears between the courtroom benches and had to be escorted from the room. Turner said nothing, but could be seen wiping his eyes.

Turner began working for CarQuest just 11 days before the killings.

Defense attorney Scott Collier begged jurors for mercy Friday and asked them to send the 25-year-old to the Louisiana State Penitentiary for the remainder of his life.

But prosecutor Tracey Barbera argued Turner showed no mercy toward the victims.

“Does this look like mercy and compassion?” she asked, holding up crime scene photos of the two men’s bodies in the warehouse of the auto parts store. “No mercy or compassion came out of that man. He offered no mercy. He should receive no mercy.”

Collier acknowledged there are no excuses for what Turner did at the age of 21 but asked the jury to consider his turbulent childhood and upbringing.

“Do you need to kill Lee Turner? Is there any other way? Is Lee Turner beyond redemption? Is he the worst of the worst?” Collier asked.

Barbera said Turner made a deliberate and planned decision to rob the store and kill all witnesses to his crime, and she said the unimaginable pain inflicted on the victims’ families will never go away.

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