Closing statements in murder trial of Ralph Wright, accused of killing his girlfriend and their son

Trial coming to end of man accused of killing son

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. - After three weeks of testimony, both sides in the Ralph Wright murder trial have their last chance to convince the jury that their side is right when it comes to Wright.

Wright is on trial for the 2007 murder of both his girlfriend, Paula O'Conner, and their 15-month-old son, Alijah.

Asst. State Attorney James Hellickson would walk jurors through the entire case once again in his three-hour closing. 

Hellickson went through motives that include Wright never wanting to be responsible for alimony or a child.  Wright, for a long time, denied the child was even his.

Hellickson went through the night of the killing, too.  He described Wright breaking into the victims' St. Petersburg home.  He reminded jurors that Paula was strangled, and Alijah was smothered.

But it may not be the facts as Hellickson told them that stand out, but rather his description of Wright's cold, emotionless feelings towards his son, "The defendant had never seen Alijah as a living, breathing, human being. The defendant who saw Alijah as a liability. Who had never seen Alijah as a laughing lovable little man."

Defense attorney Bill Bennett was more passionate in court, yet at the same time, wanted jurors to avoid the emotion of the case, and focus on the facts as he saw them. His facts being that investigators only focused on Ralph Wright as their suspect, even though nothing clearly linked him to the crime scene, not even DNA evidence.

Bennett would admit as husband, Wright, who was married to another woman, was a liar and unfaithful, but that did not make him a murderer. "Is he a good husband.? No! You know that! But how many times do you have to hear he's not a good husband? How many witnesses are they going to parade around here saying, 'Convict him and kill him because he's a bad husband?'."

The jury is expected to get the case Wednesday morning, and begin deliberations.

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