Opening statements and testimony finally will get underway Thursday at Lee Turner Jr.’s capital murder trial in the 2011 slaying of two CarQuest Auto Parts employees at the Airline Highway store near Siegen Lane.
A 12-person jury and two alternate jurors were empaneled Wednesday after 13 days of jury selection. They will be sequestered at a hotel starting Thursday night until the trial ends. It is expected to last one to two weeks.
State District Judge Richard Anderson is the presiding judge. He recently denied a defense motion to continue the trial based on newly obtained evidence.
Turner, 25, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the March 27, 2011, shooting deaths of store manager Edward Gurtner III, 43, of Denham Springs, and Randy Chaney, 55, of Greenwell Springs.
Turner was 21 at the time.
East Baton Rouge Parish First Assistant District Attorney Tracey Barbera intends to seek the death penalty if Turner is found guilty as charged. Margaret Lagattuta and Scott Collier are defending him.
If Turner is unanimously convicted as charged, there are only two possible penalties: death by lethal injection or life in prison.
Turner was hired by the company 11 days before the killings. He worked at CarQuest locations on Plank Road and Government Street.