The final moments of Sasha Samsudean's life was recounted in court Wednesday during the first day of testimony in the trial of the downtown Orlando security guard accused of killing her.
- Stephen Duxbury on trial in 2015 killing of Sasha Samsudean
- 2 women who helped Samsudean on night she died take the stand
- Duxbury was security guard at Orlando apartments where murder happened
Prosecutors at the Orange County Courthouse called several witnesses to the stand to testify against Stephen Duxbury, who was a security guard at the Uptown Place apartments in October 2015 when Samsudean was killed.
In the hours before her murder, surveillance video shows former security guard Duxbury walking with Samsudean in the halls of the apartment complex as Samsudean was trying to get into her unit.
Two good Samaritans testified they helped her home from a downtown bar because she was alone and drunk. But when they got to the complex, Samsudean didn’t have her access key or her cell phone, they said. She eventually had to sneak into the building behind another tenant because Duxbury wouldn’t let her in, even though he recognized her.
“I recall him saying something to the extent that if he remembered correctly, this was not the first time he had seen her around,” Haley Messmore testified.
Julia Goff saw Samsudean drunk outside of a bar and helped her get home. She said when she got to Samsudean’s apartment complex, Duxbury was working as a security guard and wouldn’t let Samsudean in without proper identification. Goff said Samsudean was able to get in behind another tenant later that night.
Prosecutor: “What does the security guard do after Ms. Samsudean runs after the doors open by this gentleman?
Goff: “He stayed outside with us.”
Prosecutor: “How long?”
Goff: “It can’t have been too long, I simply thanked him for his help.”
Prosecutor: “OK, did he actually help?
Prosecutor: “Were you just being polite?”
Investigators say Duxbury’s DNA was found on the 27-year-old Samsudean, and his fingerprints were found inside her apartment. Prosecutors say he raped her and then killed her by crushing her throat.
Prosecutors showed a video in court of who they say is Duxbury taking out trash the morning of Samsudean's killing — something a property manager said is not something security guards are supposed to do.
Duxbury’s defense attorneys say police acted too quickly in focusing on him and have the wrong man.
They asked former boyfriends about Samsudean’s sex habits and used witnesses to portray Samsudean in a negative light.
Defense attorney: “Would you characterize her as being sexually aggressive in your relationship?
Joshua Cohen: “Yes.”
The defense also asked Goff about Samsudean's behavior that night.
Attorney: “I believe your characterization was that she gave the Uber driver a really big kiss on the cheek.”
Goff: “I never said really big.”
Duxbury, who has no prior criminal history, could face up to life in prison if convicted. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.
Testimony is expected to continue Thursday.