Wednesday, February 21, 2018
News Roundup

Jurors will try again Thursday to reach verdict in Ralph Wright murder trial

LARGO — Jurors in the Ralph "Ron" Wright Jr. capital murder trial deliberated for 12 hours Wednesday — and they're still not done.

Just before 7 p.m., they sent a note to Judge Thane Covert saying their collective vote was 10-2, though there was no indication of which direction. He told them they could continue until they wanted to stop, at which point the group would be sequestered in a hotel overnight.

Their response: "We will continue to deliberate."

Three hours later, the jury called it a day. They will reconvene at 9:30 a.m. today.

Wright, 44, is accused of strangling his former lover, Paula O'Conner, and smothering their 15-month-old son, Alijah. Prosecutors say Wright murdered them to save money and preserve his promiscuous lifestyle. Three weeks before the killings, O'Conner had him served with papers in the MacDill Air Force Base parking lot informing him that she was suing for child support.

The plodding trial, packed with murky DNA testimony, is in its fourth week. If he's convicted, jurors will then have to decide if they should recommend that a judge sentence him to death.

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