Lee found guilty of string of robberies
By Staff Reports
Published in News on October 11, 2009 2:00 AM
A Goldsboro man was sentenced to a maximum of 75 years in prison in Wayne County Superior Court on Friday after being convicted for a string of armed robberies.
Anthony Jerome Lee, 41, was found guilty by a jury of six men and six women for committing nearly a dozen robberies in which he carried a sawed-off shotgun.
In most cases he left the scene with a small amount of cash and some Newport cigarettes.
Lee defended himself throughout the trial, with advice from lawyer Geoff Hulse, who was appointed by the court to assist him. After the jury returned Friday morning with the verdict, Lee asked Hulse to represent him during sentencing.
Lee was found guilty on 10 counts of armed robbery and seven counts of possessing a weapon of mass destruction. Almost a dozen charges of being a habitual felon were dropped by the District Attorney's Office.
Lee received a minimum sentence of 117 months and a maximum sentence of 150 months for each robbery. The minimum amount of time he will serve in prison is 58 years.
It took the jury almost exactly an hour on Friday morning to return a verdict. The jury had spent several hours deliberating on Thursday afternoon following final arguments before being dismissed for the day.
Lee tried to find holes in witnesses' testimony by asking each if they had actually seen the man who held them up, or whether they could positively identify his voice. The robber had worn a mask.
But jurors were not swayed.
At least one witness said she could positively identify the voice of the man who robbed her as being Lee's. And more than one witness said they recognized the shotgun, which had duct tape on the handle.
Assistant District Attorney Mike Ricks noted the similarities in the robberies. In each, the robber wore a camouflage coat and used a shotgun. Ricks also noted that the robber was intent on both the cash and the cigarettes in almost every case.
The prosecutor said Lee waited outside convenience stores after dark until the clerk was alone before entering them.
Judge Marvin K. Blount of Greenville, recently appointed by Gov. Beverly Perdue, presided over the trial.