No jury trial for mass killing suspect

Sept. 16, 2009 at 12:08 PM

INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- A man accused of killing seven people in Indianapolis has given up his right to a jury trial to avoid the death penalty, a prosecutor says.

Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi said the deal with Desmond Turner will leave prosecutors eying a life prison sentence without parole for the mass killing suspect when his trial begins in October, The Indianapolis Star reported Wednesday.

Turner, 31, is one of two men accused of killing Alberto Covarrubias, 56, and Emma Valdez, 46, in June 2006. Also fatally shot in the incident were the couple's two young sons, along with Valdez's adult son, daughter and 5-year-old grandson.

Also facing robbery and murder charges for the 2006 killings is James Stewart, 33, who is to be tried separately beginning Dec. 7.

Brizzi said the decision to remove the death penalty in Turner's case was made to help gain a conviction against the murder suspect.

"At the end of the day," he told the Star, "my job is to evaluate all the evidence and make sure the person that's responsible for the worst slaying in city history never hurts anyone again."

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