09/29/09 — Robbery suspect to represent himself

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Robbery suspect to represent himself

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on September 29, 2009 1:46 PM

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Anthony Jerome Lee

A Goldsboro man facing a potential prison sentence of more than 700 years for armed robbery has chosen to represent himself in Wayne County Superior Court.

Anthony Jerome Lee, accused of a string of armed robberies of nearly a dozen convenience stores last year, faces more than 30 felony-level counts in 28 separate case files.

Jury selection ended on Monday, and the trial was expected to get started today.

Lee, 41, of Maple Street, chose to waive his right to an attorney.

Goldsboro police and Wayne County Sheriff's Office authorities allege Lee is responsible for at least 11 armed robberies at convenience stores, mostly inside Goldsboro's city limits.

Lee's alleged April 2008 crime spree was characterized by prosecutors as being motivated by two things -- to steal small amounts of cash and as many Newport cigarettes as he could carry.

Many of the charges are related to Lee's alleged weapon of choice, a sawed-off shotgun, which is legally classified as a "weapon of mass destruction."

He faces at least nine counts of possession of a weapon of mass destruction.

District Attorney Branny Vickory said he could not comment on the specifics of the case, but said that Lee's choice to represent himself came as a surprise.

"It's unusual that somebody facing very serious charges represents themselves," Vickory said. "But the right to counsel is obviously very meticulously respected in the court under the Sixth Amendment, and the corollary to that is that you have a right to counsel yourself."