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Turner guilty of first degree murder

updated: 3/27/2013 4:30 PM

Richard Turner, II, 35, was convicted Friday of the first degree murder of four-year-old Jessica R. James after a two week trial.

The child died of closed head trauma on June 22, 2009, at St. Louis Children's Hospital. The jury twice reported being deadlocked, then returned a guilty verdict after deliberating about seven hours.

Judge Waldren Morris scheduled sentencing for 10 a.m. May 16, 2013.

Lead investigator was Illinois State Police Special Agent Gwendolyn Basinger. States Attorney Michael J. Henshaw and Assistant State's Attorney Eva Walker prosecuted the case.

In February of 2012 Turner plead guilty to murder and an unrelated child sex charge.

He was accused of the beating death of James.

The judgment was voided when it was discovered that under Illinois law, Turner could not serve the 20-year and 22-year sentences he received concurrently.

For Turner, that meant deciding whether to accept his new sentence of 42 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, serving the two terms consecutively, or to withdraw his guilty pleas and risk the jury trial.