Suspect's life at stake in high profile murder trial
BATON ROUGE- Hundreds of potential jurors will be screened for the first death penalty trial in Baton Rouge in at least five years.
Lee Turner is accused of killing two workers at the Carquest Auto Parts Store in 2011. The workers, Edward Gurtner and Randy Chaney were found shot to death inside. Prosecutors said Turner confessed to the killings, and said he tried to rob the store.
In court, prosecutors and defense lawyers talked to potential jurors one by one. They asked them numerous questions about how they felt about the death penalty, and whether they could be impartial.
"You want to make sure you have a jury that can be fair to both sides, state and the defendant because this is a serious case," District Attorney Hillar Moore said.
Lee's court appointed defense attorney declined to do an interview, until after jury selection. It is estimated that jury selection will take approxmiately two weeks. If Lee is convicted of two counts of first degree murder, jurors will enter what's called the penalty phase of the trial. That's when they decide whether Turner gets to live or die.
The widows of the two men who were killed were both in court for the first day of the trial.
"Days like this just reopen everything again," Moore said. "They've been very strong and will be here throughout the process."
If convicted, the jury will then have to make a unanimous decision in order to send Turner to death row.