CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — A jury has recommended that a former MacDill Air Force Base sergeant should be put to death for murdering his former lover and their 15-month-old son.
Pinellas County jurors voted 7-5 Friday in favor of the death penalty for 44-year-old Ralph Wright Jr. The panel found him guilty Thursday of first-degree murder. A judge will make the final decision.
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.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.