CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — A former MacDill Air Force Base sergeant has been convicted of murdering his former lover and their 15-month-old son.
A Pinellas County jury found 44-year-old Ralph Wright Jr. guilty on Thursday of first-degree murder. He faces a possible death sentence.
Prosecutors say Wright strangled 37-year-old Paula O’Conner at her St. Petersburg home and smothered baby Alijah in his crib in July 2007.
O’Conner had been pressuring the married man to pay child support and help out with Alijah’s medical bills. She hired a private investigator, who tracked Wright down and served him with a paternity suit a month before the murders.
Defense attorneys claimed DNA collected from a glove at the crime scene was inconclusive. They also pointed blame at O’Conner’s then-18-year-old daughter — who received $540,000 in life insurance benefits — or one of the daughter’s boyfriends.
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