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Sasha Samsudean: Jury hears from medical examiner, Orlando police

Medical examiner details gruesome way 27-year-old victim was killed

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Testimony is underway Thursday at the Orange County Courthouse in the trial of a former security guard accused of raping and killing a woman inside her downtown Orlando apartment complex in October 2015.

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

The medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Samsudean testified in court Wednesday detailing the gruesome way she died.

Samsudean’s death was caused by strangulation, Dr. Gary Utz told the jury. Utz said he had never seen an internal neck fracture as "severe” as what Sumsudean suffered. The 27-year-old had bruising to her chest from several "blows" and her body smelled of cleaning solution, Utz testified.

The jury was also shown pictures from the crime scene. Samsudean's family was in court and was not shown the photos.

"This is a necklace that was actually not around her neck, but was tangled in her hair and it was also broken, but you can also see her blouse which had been torn but it was still on her arms," Utz said while holding up a photo of Samsudean.

Orlando police said that while he was 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.

During cross examination defense attorney Aaron Delgado questioned Utz about signs of a struggle.

"Did you see any signs obvious signs of a struggle had taken place?" Delgado asked.

"No, the bedclothes were somewhat disorganized but other than that I did not notice anything that was indicative of a struggle," Utz responded.

Next the state called Orlando police Officer Andy Tran, who spoke to the jury about Duxbury's behavior the day Samsudean's body was found.

"He was nervous," Tran said of Duxbury. "Pacing, walking around in the hallway."

Again on Thursday, the defense tried to walk the idea into the jury member's minds that another person could have committed the crimes and the sex was consensual.

"You described the lighting as mood lighting. In fact you said it was dim like somebody might have been set up for a nice date," Delgado said to Tran.

On Wednesday, the state attempted to discredit the defense team's claims that Orlando police did not look at all possible witnesses before arresting Duxbury. 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.

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.

News 6 Reporter Nadeen Yanes is covering the trial from the Orange County Courthouse. See a recap of the third day of the testimony below.

 

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