OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) — Inside the Lee County Justice Center a jury is beginning their deliberations; considering the guilt or innocence in the capital murder trial of Rick Ennis.
Ennis is accused of the capital murder of 24-year-old Lori Ann Slesinski nearly 16 years ago in Auburn. Deliberations began on day 12 of the trial.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the case, as jurors decide if he’s guilty of capital murder, a lesser included a charge of Intentional murder, or they can find him not guilty of the charges.
Prosecutors say Ennis was romantically obsessed with Slesinski and killed her when she refused to be more than friends.
Forensic investigators testified the defendant’s semen and presumptive blood were inside Slesinski’s mobile home. Investigators located a phone – missing its long chord – in her bedroom, and a rolled cigarette with Ennis’ DNA near Slesinski’s burned vehicle.
Ennis was the last person known to be with Slesinski when she was alive, and when questioned after Lori vanished, detectives took pictures of fresh scratches on his arms and hands. Prosecutors said a “murderer’s tool kit” was found in his car, along with cleaning supplies, a knife, and handcuffs.
Ennis testified in his own defense, saying he was good friends with Lori and they had consensual sex. He maintains he did not kill her. He says the scratches came from his dog.
His defense team claims investigators bungled evidence in the case and can not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Ennis is the killer. Ennis says the last time he spoke with Lori she was supposed to meet with a drug dealer to sell marijuana the two had been growing together.
Lori’s body has never been found.
News 3 is in the courtroom and will keep you updated as jury deliberations continue.