Franklin Man Found Guilty In Knoxville Hit-And-Run Deaths - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Franklin Man Found Guilty In Knoxville Hit-And-Run Deaths

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Curtis Harper (Credit: WVLT) Curtis Harper (Credit: WVLT)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A Knox County jury has found a Franklin man guilty of all charges in a triple fatal hit-and-run in Knoxville. 

WVLT reported 23-year-old Curtis Harper was found guilty of 10 charges in the deaths of Nelzon A. Soto, Chasity Elaine Thornell and Thornell's unborn daughter.

Harper faced three counts each of vehicular homicide by intoxication and vehicular homicide by reckless endangerment. He's was also charged with two counts of DUI, and one count each of tampering with evidence, failing to render aid after an accident and reckless endangerment.

In closing arguments, prosecutor Sarah Keith told jurors Harper gave no thought to what happened to Soto, Thornell or Thornell's unborn daughter, all of whom were killed.

Thornell, who was 24 and pregnant, and Soto were killed when struck on May 30, 2012. Soto was helping Thornell and a friend who had run out of gasoline in front of his home.

Harper's lawyer said there was no proof his client was drunk. He conceded that Harper fled the scene, but said his client thought he had hit a disabled car.

Police reported they found pieces of Harper's 2004 Ford Explorer at the scene of the crash, along with traces of blood, skin and hair on the car.

Several days later, Harper turned himself in.

Harper also took the stand on Tuesday. WVLT reported he was emotionless when he testified he had been drinking most of the day prior to the crash.

Harper also said he learned he'd killed three people when a friend called him the day after the accident. He said he was scared and wiped down the car with a sponge and a hose to get rid of the blood.

(The Associated Press Contributed To This Report.)

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