Pittman found guilty

Antwan Pittman in court
September 29, 2011 3:33:35 PM PDT
A jury has found Antwan Pittman guilty of first-degree murder in the slaying of a 28-year-old Edgecombe County woman.

He will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

After the verdict was read, Pittman stood up in court and yelled that he didn't kill Taraha Shenice Nicholson.

Pittman remains a suspect in at least seven other killings of women whose bodies were found in wooded areas near Rocky Mount over several years.

The jury took less than an hour to reach their verdict after attorneys wrapped up their closing arguments Thursday morning.

Defense attorneys had argued the evidence in the trial was all circumstantial and not enough to convict Pittman of the strangulation death of Nicholson, whose body was found in Edgecombe County in March 2009.

"Their science tells you, but didn't say he killed anybody," defense attorney Tommy Moore said. "You have to be careful when people argue to you about a circumstantial case."

Pittman took the stand in his own defense and described to jurors Wednesday his encounter with Nicholson. Pittman said the two had sex at a motel on March 1, 2009, that he dropped her off behind the Rocky Mount library and he never saw her again.

Under cross-examination, Pittman told prosecutors that Nicholson was the first prostitute that he had sex with. He denied having sex with two former prostitutes who earlier testified that Pittman tried to strangle them as well.

Another piece of evidence the defense targeted was the internet browsing history on Pittman's computer that showed visits to websites about rape.

Pittman claimed he had nothing to do with the activity found on the computer. And a witness for the defense said it was possible someone else could've used the computer.

But prosecutors said what was found on his computer indicates Pittman is a sexual deviant out to abuse women. And Edgecombe County District Attorney Robert Evans called Pittman a liar.

"Ladies and gentleman, I submit to you that he has no credibility," Evans said. "I ask you to consider that in the jury room. You can't believe a word he said."

Evans said Pittman stalked and preyed on prostitutes to carry out his violent sexual fantasies, and that he's the person responsible for Nicholson's death.

While he remains a suspect, Pittman has not been charged in any other deaths.

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