Trial begins for security guard accused of killing Orlando woman

Stephen Duxbury worked at victim's condo complex

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist
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ORLANDO, Fla. - The trial for the man accused of killing a young woman in her downtown Orlando apartment in 2015 began Tuesday afternoon at the Orange County Courthouse.

Stephen Duxbury, 35, was working as a security guard at Uptown Place Condominiums the same October night 27-year-old Sasha Samsudean was murdered.

Samsudean had returned home in an Uber after a night out with friends, police said.

Orlando police said while on the job, 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, according to investigators with Orlando police.

Duxbury faces charges of first-degree murder, attempted sexual battery with a deadly weapon and burglary.

Jury selection for the trial started Monday and the jury was seated Tuesday. Ninth judicial circuit Judge Leticia Marques will hear the case.

Both the defense and the prosecution will deliver opening statements Tuesday afternoon.

         Assistant State Attorney Will Jay opened by telling the jury how Duxbury gained access to Samsudean's home and how she died.

Google records show Duxbury spent seven minutes searching how to defeat the electronic door lock on Samsudean’s apartment unit, Jay said.

Duxbury crushed Samsudean’s larynx and struck her in the head seven times before wrapping her up in her bed comforter “like a Tootsie Roll," the prosecution said.

Jay reviewed the DNA evidence found at the murder scene on the victim and near her body.

Duxbury's attorney Aaron Delgado presented the opening arguments for the defense trying to place doubt with some of the evidence found at the scene. Delgado argued that officers "jumped to conclusions" when arresting Duxbury.

“You’re looking at not only want the evidence shows, but what does it not show,” Delgado said.

After opening remarks the prosecution called its first witness, Anthony Roper, a friend of Samsudean's.

Roper was unable to reach Samsudean the morning after a night out in Orlando testified that he messaged and called her all day before going to her apartment. After Samsudean didn’t answer her door, Roper called Orlando police to file a missing person’s report between 7 and 8 p.m.

Duxbury faces life in prison if convicted.

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