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Closing arguments in Titus Lee trial, jury instructed on how to determine verdict

Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 2:51 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Attorneys made one final plea to jurors in the ongoing criminal case against Titus Lee, a man accused of the attack of two UNCW students in 2016.

The trial has been ongoing for more than three weeks now, and it is now time for the jury to decide whether or not Lee is guilty. Lee previously pleaded not guilty.

Closing arguments effectively summarize the trial and give attorneys an opportunity to try and persuade the jury to find the defendant either guilty or not guilty.

Connie Jordan, the prosecutor, first summarized the attack - in graphic detail - in which a couple was assaulted and forced to withdraw cash from a bank. According to Jordan, during the attack, the male victim involved in the case was pistol-whipped and bound, then forced into a closet while his girlfriend was raped.

Related: Former student testifies about kidnapping, rape at Wilmington apartment

According to the victims, their attacker had injured his hand and bled, however, following the attack, he forced the victim to clean the home and had put a comforter in the washing machine, destroying DNA evidence. Lee was arrested shortly after the attack in Philadelphia. He was charged with two counts of kidnapping, two counts of first-degree rape, robbery with a dangerous weapon, and first-degree burglary.

Lee was found in possession of one of the victims’ cell phones, as well as a jacket and laptop chargers taken from the home.

Following Jordan’s initial closing arguments, the defense attorney had his chance to make one last plea to the jury to find Lee not guilty. Lee claimed that he had found the phone by a dumpster and took it because he needed a phone.

The defense also claimed that the lack of DNA evidence should prove Lee’s innocence, something the prosecutor says was due to the fact that the attacker forced the victim to clean the home.

Lee’s attorney also focused on the fact that, initially, the victims identified someone else in the attack when presented with a lineup - someone who could not have committed the crime since he was already in jail.

Jordan challenged that assertion in her follow-up closing argument, claiming the photo of Lee presented in the lineup was taken more than a year before the attack, and Lee had different colored hair at the time.

Following the closing arguments, the judge instructed the jury on how to proceed with deliberations, and what laws to apply to each charge, and how to consider each charge.

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