LARGO — By a 7-5 vote, jurors recommended that Ralph "Ron" Wright Jr. be executed for the murders of his former lover and their 15-month-old son.
Judge Thane Covert will now decide if Wright should die or spend the rest of his life in prison. A hearing is set for March 8, but he won't be sentenced for several more months.
Wright was convicted of the murders Thursday. The jury of eight women and four men had deliberated for 15 hours over two days before reaching a verdict.
Prosecutors had painted Wright as a calculating liar who killed Paula O'Conner and their son, Alijah, to maintain his promiscuous lifestyle and to avoid paying the boy's expensive medical bills.
Three weeks before the killings, she had him served with papers at MacDill Air Force Base, informing him she was suing for child support.
After the conviction was announced, O'Conner's daughter, Victoria Christopher, offered no opinion about the sentencing. O'Conner's father, William Dillon, said he didn't want Wright to be executed. He wanted him to sit in prison and think about the murders for the rest of his life.
Midway through the two-hour deliberation, jurors asked the judge about the family's input. He couldn't answer. Because the vote was so close, defense attorneys say they will likely ask prosecutors to agree to a life sentence.