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Juror speaks out on Tampa Bay area mother and son murder trial

State Supreme Court overturned jury's conviction
Posted at 4:20 PM, May 15, 2017

Paula O'Connor and her 15-month-old son were both murdered in their home in 2007.

Ralph Wright, the baby's father, was convicted of killing them both.

Eric Mullins served on the jury. He says all the evidence pointed in one direction.

But last week the state Supreme Court threw out the conviction citing a lack of evidence.

"This is wrong it is wrong. It was obvious who committed this crime. There's no doubt in any of our minds," Mullins says.

RELATED: Former MacDill sergeant convicted of 2 counts of 1st degree murder has sentences vacated

Wright and O'Connor met on a dating website. Their relationship fell apart after O'Connor became pregnant with Wright's son.

Prosecutors say Wright, a former Air Force sergeant stationed at MacDill, ceased all contact with O'Connor who pursued him for child support.

But the state says Wright was a dead-beat dad who was actually married with a family.

For Mullins and the jury, the motive and Wright's behavior all added up to a guilty verdict.

"He had a lover here and a lover over here. He had a double life," he says.

The jury unanimously convicted Wright. Recommending the death penalty.

RELATED: Jury finds former Air Force Sergeant Ralph Wright Jr. guilty of murdering ex-lover, son

But because death penalty cases are reviewed the state Supreme Court took a second look, and when they did they threw out the conviction, citing a lack of evidence. Ralph Wright is now on the verge of being a free man.

"You reach a point that there should be closure and then somebody decides that you are wrong, six years, you had a trial, you guys just got it wrong, it's not right," says Mullins.

Wright's defense attorneys say the DNA evidence was inconclusive and all the other evidence was circumstantial.

"He wasn't married to the girlfriend what does it matter that he had girlfriends who cares, it had nothing to do with the case other than he's a bad dude," says Attorney William Benett.

They also say the jury never got to hear about the other men in O'Connor's life whom she had conflicts with. And her own daughter who she kicked out of the house. And who the attorneys say had a drug problem.

State prosecutors still have time to file for a re-hearing. But given the fact that the Supreme Court's decision was unanimous that likely will not happen.

If that doesn't happen Ralph Wright will likely be a free man in less than 2 weeks.