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Ex-MacDill Air Force Sergeant Ralph Wright, found guilty of killing Paula O'Conner and their infant son, Alijah

2:55 PM, Feb 7, 2013   |    comments
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Clearwater, Florida -- A Pinellas County jury says a former MacDill Air Force sergeant is a killer.

On Thursday, Ralph Wright was convicted of strangling his ex-lover, Paula O'Conner and suffocating their 15-month-old son, Alijah. 

At the time of the murders in 2007, O'Conner was dealing with mounting medical bills for her baby boy, who had a serious heart defect. Investigators say she was trying to legally get Wright to take responsibility for their son.

When O'Conner and Wright were dating, Wright was a reservist called to active duty at MacDill Air Force Base. O'Conner hoped to gain access to his military medical benefits, but when he denied fathering the baby and disappeared from her life, she hired a private investigator and learned he'd been married all along to a woman in Orlando.

O'Conner detailed her story on a website, MilitaryDeadbeatDads.com, before she died. That website can still be visited today.

She sued for child support and, three weeks later, was found strangled. Her son, Alijah, was also found suffocated in their St. Petersburg home, according to police. 

The jury found Wright guilty on two counts of first degree murder. The penalty phase of his trial is scheduled for Friday morning.

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