CarQuest Auto Parts manager Edward Gurtner III suffered 12 gunshot wounds, including several to the back, and fellow employee Randy Chaney was shot once in the back of the head, the pathologist who performed their autopsies told jurors Friday on the second day of Lee Turner Jr.’s capital murder trial in the 2011 slayings.
A firearms examiner also testified that the murder weapon — a .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol — had a 13-bullet magazine, or clip. An additional bullet could be loaded in the chamber.
Turner, in an 11-hour videotaped interrogation that the jury is expected to see during the trial, told East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s detectives that he “spent the whole clip” when he shot the two men in the warehouse of the CarQuest on Airline Highway near Siegen Lane on March 27, 2011.
The trial will resume Saturday in state District Judge Richard Anderson’s courtroom.
Dr. Bruce Wainer, a forensic pathologist, testified that seven bullets were recovered from Gurtner’s body. Four bullets also passed completely through his body, and he was grazed once, the doctor said.
The jury was shown graphic autopsy photographs of Gurtner and Chaney while Wainer testified.
Louisiana State Police Crime Lab firearms examiner Jeff Goudeau told jurors that nine shell casings found inside the store’s warehouse were fired from the pistol discovered in thick brush behind the store.
In his March 28, 2011, interrogation, Turner acknowledged he tossed the gun into bushes behind the store.
Jeremy Dubois, a former State Police forensic DNA analyst who now works at the Acadiana Crime Lab, testified Friday that Turner cannot be excluded as a contributor to a mixture of DNA found on the gun.
State Police Crime Lab fingerprint examiner Amber Aydell Madere said no fingerprints were found on the gun.
But sheriff’s Lt. Allen Bourdier testified Thursday that a complete set of clothes, including gloves, was found the day after the murders in a garbage can outside the Ritterman Avenue home where Turner was staying with his uncle.
Goudeau, the firearms examiner, testified Friday that microscopic analysis showed the shell casings retrieved from the warehouse were fired from the same gun — the .380-caliber pistol that he held during portions of his testimony.
Even though prosecutors contend Turner acted alone, Goudeau said he could not rule out the possibility of a second shooter due to several bullet fragments found inside the warehouse.
Turner was 21 and a newly hired CarQuest employee when he was accused of shooting Gurtner, 43, of Denham Springs, and Chaney, 55, of Greenwell Springs, during an armed robbery.
Turner told detectives that he intended only to rob the store but wound up shooting the two men after Gurtner recognized him. Gurtner knew Turner’s uncle.
If Turner is convicted of first-degree murder, jurors will have to decide whether the 25-year-old will die by lethal injection or spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Former CarQuest delivery driver Braillon Jones told the jury Friday that Turner, who was not working that day, was at the Airline store on March 27, 2011, talking with Chaney when Jones clocked out for the day at 2:47 p.m. The store was to close at 3 p.m.
Sheriff’s detectives have said they believe Gurtner and Chaney were killed between 2:47 p.m. and 3:13 p.m., when family members could not reach them by phone.
Current CarQuest employee Larry Moore Jr. testified that Turner came into CarQuest’s now-closed Government Street location three times the day before the killings, asking on one of those visits about the store’s bank deposit procedures and whether the store used employees or an armored car to deliver its deposits.