Trial set for BR man in 2011 double-murder case

A judge Wednesday set an Oct. 28 trial date for a man accused of fatally shooting two employees of the CarQuest Auto Parts store on Airline Highway near Siegen Lane in Baton Rouge in March 2011.

Wednesday was the two-year anniversary of the slaying of Edward Gurtner III, 43, of Denham Springs, and Randy Chaney, 55, of Greenwell Springs. Gurtner managed the store.

The East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney’s Office is seeking the death penalty against Lee Turner Jr., 23, who was hired by the company less than two weeks before the killings and worked at CarQuest locations on Government Street and Plank Road.

Turner, who lived on Ritterman Avenue at the time, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

Prosecutor Tracey Barbera and Margaret Lagattuta, one of Turner’s attorneys, told state District Judge Richard Anderson they expect the trial to last three weeks, including jury selection.

Anderson ruled last month that evidence — money, Regions Bank bags and CarQuest deposit slips — seized from Turner’s home the day after Gurtner and Chaney were killed can be introduced at the trial by prosecutors.

The judge also ruled last year that prosecutors can use Turner’s videotaped statement in which he allegedly confessed to detectives that he shot and killed Gurtner and Chaney.

Turner told detectives his initial motive was to rob the store, but he wound up shooting the men because Gurtner recognized him, Sheriff Sid Gautreaux has said.

Detectives said they believe Gurtner and Chaney were killed March 27, 2011, between 2:47 p.m. — when the last employee to see them alive clocked out — and 3:13 p.m., when the men could not be reached by phone. The store closed that Sunday at 3 p.m.