Jury deliberates in trial of prostitute accused of killing gay couple in 2010

Peter Avsenew faces death penalty if convicted

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor, Neki Mohan - Anchor/Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Broward County jury is deliberating in the murder trial of a prostitute accused of killing a gay couple in their Wilton Manors home in 2010.

After a four-week trial, the jury must now decide if Peter Avsenew is guilty of killing Kevin Adams and Steven Powell.

The couple was found shot to death and wrapped in blankets in their Wilton Manors home in December 2010.

Avsenew, a 32-year-old self-admitted prostitute, placed an advertisement on Craigslist and moved in with the couple weeks before their deaths.

The prosecution claimed during trial that Avsenew used the couple's credit cards and was found in possession of their car. The defense claims Avsenew found them dead.

"He takes their car and flees because he can't call the police and report this brutal, horrific double homicide because he posted a Craigslist ad and was living with them," prosecutor Shari Tate told jurors during her closing arguments Tuesday. "Is that reasonable? No."

Tate reminded the jury that, of all the evidence and testimony presented during trial, perhaps the most convincing witness was Avsenew's mother.

Steven Adams and Kevin Powell were found shot to death inside their Wilton Manors home, their bodies wrapped in blankets, in December 2010.

"His mother knew what he did, and his mother had to turn him in," Tate said.

Defense attorney Gabe Ermine argued that Avsenew knew the couple, discovered their bodies and fled, but he said there isn't enough evidence to prove that his client killed them.

"This is my opportunity to get up and discuss to you the evidence, the conflicts in the evidence, the lack of evidence," Ermine told jurors.

The jury was sequestered overnight and was expected to continue deliberations Wednesday.

Avsenew faces the death penalty if convicted.

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