10/07/09 — Robbery suspect finishing defense

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Robbery suspect finishing defense

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on October 7, 2009 1:46 PM

A man charged with 11 armed robberies who is representing himself in Wayne County Superior Court had one witness left to examine this morning.

Anthony Jerome Lee, 41, of Maple Street, is accused of using a sawed-off shotgun in the string of robberies.

He faces a possible sentence of more than 700 years in prison.

The robberies began in April 2008 and continued for weeks. They ceased when Lee was apprehended, Goldsboro police contend.

Lee chose to defend himself in court, but has been assisted by lawyer Geoff Hulse, who was appointed by the court as assistant counsel due to the severity of the charges.

Lee, of Maple Street, faces more than 30 felony-level counts in 28 separate case bills of indictment, including the use of a weapon of mass destruction.

Throughout the trial, Lee has asked witnesses if they saw the alleged armed robber's face or heard his voice.

Assistant District Attorney Mike Ricks has asked witnesses if they recognized the sawed-off shotgun.

On Tuesday afternoon, Lee filed a motion to dismiss all counts of robbery and possession of a weapon of mass destruction. He based the motion on an alleged lack of evidence by police.

Judge Paul L. Jones of Kinston denied the motion after Ricks told the court why he believed the charges should stand.

The alleged robberies occurred mostly inside Goldsboro's city limits.

Goldsboro Police Sgt. Chad Calloway has alleged that Lee waited outside the stores until no customers were inside, then entered with a shotgun.

The alleged motive was always the same -- to take small amounts of cash from the register and as many Newport-brand cigarettes as he could carry.

Following the presentation of witnesses by the defense, the prosecution will be given a chance for rebuttal. After that, final arguments will be made and the case will go to the jury.

The trial was expected to continue today, starting at 9:30 a.m.