Orlando security guard found guilty in murder of 27-year-old woman

Stephen Duxbury receives life in prison for killing Sasha Samsudean

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ORLANDO, Fla. – An Orange County jury found a security guard guilty on all charges Tuesday afternoon in the 2015 rape and murder of 27-year-old Sasha Samsudean.

The jury found Stephen Duxbury, 35, guilty of first-degree murder, attempted sexual battery and burglary following six days of testimony at the Orange County Courthouse and half a day of deliberation.

Samsudean was killed in October 2015 at Uptown Place Apartments while Duxbury was working as a security guard at the complex.

Ninth Judicial Circuit Judge Lisa Munyon sentenced Duxbury to two life sentences in prison on the first-degree murder and rape convictions and an additional 15 years for the burglary conviction.

'American girl' will live on through memories, family

Samsudean's parents both offered emotional statements to the judge before Duxbury's sentencing describing the hardworking 27-year-old as an "American girl, living the American lifestyle."

Samsudean's mother, Tara, a former emergency room nurse, said she had to leave her job after her daughter's death, because she had trouble treating rape victims.

"I will never have a last supper with my daughter again, her father will never walk her down the aisle," Tara Samsudean said. "Every wedding I attend I know we would never have that with my daughter."

Tara Samsudean ripped into the defense team for its portrayal of her daughter as a party girl.

"We were beat up when we found out by what happened and we were beat up again in this courtroom by the defense," she said. "I don't think that was equal (justice) what you did, putting my daughter through, running her through the mud."

Ken Samsudean said Sasha will live on through memories and thanked the Orlando police detectives "who did not leave any stone unturned," finding her killer.

"That's my baby," Ken Samsudean said to the judge.

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Duxbury did not offer any statements before receiving his sentence.

Orlando Police Department Chief John Mina celebrated the jury's decision after the announcement.

"Great teamwork by Orlando police homicide and CSI Units, FDLE and State Attorney's Office," Mina said. "Justice for the family and friends of Sasha Samsudean, Duxbury found guilty."

Closing: Evidence, scene don't lie, state says

Closing arguments were presented Tuesday morning by the state and defense before handing the case to the jury around noon.

Prosecutor William Jay reminded the jury of Samsudean's extensive injuries to her head, hips and arms and the DNA evidence linking Duxbury to her body, including his DNA found on her breast.

"You saw the photographs of her, they speak for themselves," Jay said.

Jay dismissed the defense team's argument that Samsudean could have been killed by a boyfriend during "rough sex," likening the abuse to an "18-wheeler hitting a motorcycle."

"Her body doesn't tell the lies, the scene doesn't tell the lies, the defendant's testimonies to the officers were omissions and mistruths and partial truth," Jay said.

During closing statements, Duxbury's defense attorney Aaron Delgado tried to point out holes in the case against his client, saying Orlando police missed out on evidence.

"Why didn't they do DNA testing on these shoes, or these shoes? Why didn't they do anything scientific to prove Mr. Duxbury wore the wrong shoes intentionally to commit a crime and get away with it?" Delgado said.

DNA, shoes prints point to security guard

The prosecution finished laying out their case Monday against Duxbury. His defense team was also expected to present its case, but instead called no witnesses.

Sasha Samsudean, 27, was found dead in her downtown Orlando condo on October 17, 2015.

A DNA expert and two Orlando police detectives who interviewed Duxbury after the homicide took the stand Monday.

Florida Department of Law Department DNA expert Edgar Perez testified that Duxbury's DNA was found on the victim's breast.

Jurors also heard audio recordings of Orlando police interviews with Duxbury.

“It does not look good,” Duxbury told detectives when they asked about the trash bag he took out after his shift the morning Samsudean was murdered. Prosecutors allege he was throwing out items from the crime scene.

Detectives interviewed Duxbury multiples times, and each time, his statements were different, according to the audio.

"Where was the first place she was when you found her?" an Orlando police detective asked in a recording of Duxbury's second interview.

"It was the first or second floor," Duxbury replied.

"In your first statement, you said at her apartment," the detective said.

"I am telling the truth,” Duxbury said.

"You are saying that, but there are so many discrepancies in your statement that even (on) day one didn't make sense to us,” the detective said.

In the afternoon, the state rested its case and defense attorney Cheney Mason moved for an acquittal on all three charges of burglary, rape and first-degree murder.

“I don’t see there is any evidence there at all," Mason said.

The judge found that the state had enough evidence to let jurors decide the verdict.

The defense team called no witnesses.

News 6 Reporter Nadeen Yanes is covering the trial from the Orange County Courthouse. Follow her updates from the trial below.

About the Author:

Emilee is a digital journalist for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com, where she writes about space and Central Florida news. Emilee hosts the Edward R. Murrow Award-winning podcast Space Curious. Previously, she was a space writer and web editor for the Orlando Sentinel and a web producer at the Naples Daily News.