Sasha Samsudean murder trial jury hears from former boyfriends, witnesses

Defense attempts to paint victim as heavy drinker

ORLANDO, Fla. – Testimony continued Wednesday in the trial for a former security guard accused of raping and killing a woman inside her downtown Orlando apartment complex nearly two years ago.

Stephen Duxbury, 35, faces life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder in 27-year-old Sasha Samsudean's death.

On Tuesday, prosecutors and defense attorneys laid out their cases during opening statements, then called first witnesses, including Samsudean's friends and people who saw her that October 2015 night, before her body was found wrapped in a comforter on her bed the next day.

Orlando police said that while he on the job at Uptown Place Condominiums, Duxbury followed Samsudean into her apartment, raped and killed her. Police said he strangled her, then rolled her body in her comforter and covered it in bleach. They had mounting physical evidence, like footprints and defensive wounds, before making an arrest, according to investigators with Orlando police.

The defense argues that police didn't look at all witnesses before arresting Duxbury, and on Wednesday, Assistant State Attorney Will Jay called several men the victim dated to contradict that claim. All of the men had spoken with police and had been cleared after providing DNA that did not match the samples found at the crime scene.

Defense attorney Aaron Delgado used a witness to paint the victim in a negative light asking about her sexual preferences and inferring that she liked rough sex and was a heavy drinker.

"Would you say she drank a little, a lot?" Delgado asked Samsudean's former boyfriend, Joshua Cohen.

"We both drank a lot," Cohen responded.

"Would you characterize her as being sexually aggressive in your relationship with her?" Delgado said.

"Yes," Cohen said.

The state called Julia Goff and her roommate who both helped get Samsudean get home after they found her drunk on Orange Avenue by herself. Goff testified that she saw Duxbury at Uptown Place before Samsudean was able to get into the building.

After a break, the state called a board member of a Uptown Place Apartments who installed security cameras and showed security footage showing Samsudean coming in at 1:46 a.m. with Duxbury following behind her. Then they were seen together wandering around the apartment complex for nearly an hour until Duxbury is seen leaving by himself at 2:39 a.m.

Check back for updates throughout the trial at and watch News 6 for continuing coverage.