Norcross man, stepson facing trial for celebratory gunfire death

LAWRENCEVILLE -- As another New Year's Eve quickly approaches, a Norcross man and his stepson are scheduled to face trial for the celebratory gunfire that allegedly took the life of a neighbor.

Ervin Turner Sr. and Jesse Deane Foster were arrested Jan. 3, 2011, and charged with involuntary manslaughter. Authorities believe one of the gunshots the stepfather-stepson duo fired into the air to ring in New Year's Day 2011 struck and killed 34-year-old Sergio Martinez.

Martinez was found dead in the kitchen of his home at 975 Worchester Place in Norcross. According to jail records, Turner lives at 976 Worchester Place.

Police at the time said that forensic investigation determined the trajectory of the single bullet that killed Martinez and lead detectives to Turner and Foster. Both men bonded out of Gwinnett County jail 16 days after their original arrests.

The joint trial for Turner and Foster is scheduled to begin Monday in front of Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Warren Davis. Under Georgia code, a conviction for involuntary manslaughter due to an "unlawful act" carries a sentence of one to 10 years in prison.