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Alleged gunman waives right to jury trial

Oct. 12, 2009 at 11:33 AM   |   Comments

INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- A Indianapolis man accused of killing seven people in a futile search for cash and cocaine no longer faces the death penalty if convicted, officials said.

Desmond Turner, 31, agreed to have his case heard by Superior Judge Robert Altice, rather than a jury, in exchange for prosecutors dropping their request for the death penalty, The Indianapolis Star reported Monday on the opening day of Turner's trial.

Turner was charged with first-degree murder in the June 2006 deaths of four adults and three children. It was the city's worst mass killing.

Turner allegedly shot the seven in an unsuccessful search for a safe containing cocaine and cash rumored to be kept in a house in the neighborhood, Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi said.

An alleged accomplice, James Stewart, 22, is to be tried on first-degree murder charges in December. Turner and Stewart have denied any involvement in the killings.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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