10/09/09 — Jury out in Lee case

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Jury out in Lee case

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on October 9, 2009 2:00 PM

A jury was to continue deliberating this morning on charges that a Maple Street man committed a string of convenience store robberies and muggings last year.

Anthony Jerome Lee, 41, waived his right to counsel and chose to represent himself. He faces more than 30 felony-level counts and a possible sentence of more than 700 years if convicted on all counts.

Police allege Lee is responsible for nine armed robberies of convenience stores, and three robberies of individuals, all using a sawed-off shotgun with duct tape on the handle.

Police Sgt. Chad Calloway testified that Lee used a stakeout approach in the nine convenience store robberies, waiting until clerks were alone after dark.

The robberies were characterized by a camouflage jacket-wearing man and the alleged motive, to steal small amounts of cash from the register and cigarettes.

Throughout the trial, Assistant District Attorney Mike Ricks has tried to establish Lee's involvement by asking witnesses about pieces of evidence they recognized.

Of particular importance have been the camouflage jacket itself, and the handle of the shotgun, which Ricks has picked up and showed to witnesses.

The prosecutor reassured witnesses that the gun was unloaded when they were asked to examine it.

More than one witness testified that the duct-tape covered handle was familiar to them. At least one witness testified that she could recognize the voice despite the covering over the alleged robber's face.

Lee questioned whether witnesses could accurately identify him.

Law enforcement have said that the robber used a mask to cover much of his face and muffle his voice.

The trial was expected to resume at 9:30 a.m.

The jury is made up of six men and six women.

Lee has been assisted in his defense by lawyer Geoff Hulse, who has sat behind him throughout the week-long trial, offering advice.

The case is being heard by Superior Court Judge Marvin K. Blount.