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WILTON MANORS (CBSMiami) – Prosecutors began laying out their case Friday in the trial of a man accused of murdering a couple in their Wilton Manors home.
“We just pictured him probably being the last one off the flight because he was always just happy,” said Marci Craig. “And he never came, he never came down that hallway.”
Craig’s brother Stephen Adams never made it to Ohio that Christmas night of 2010.
He and his partner of nearly 30 years, Kevin Powell, were murdered in their home in Wilton Manors.
Peter Avsenew is accused of killing them.
“The defendant, Peter Asvenew, brutally took the lives of Kevin Powell and Steven Adams,” said prosecutor Shari Tate. “Shot them multiple times in the head, left them to die.”
During opening statements, defense attorneys paint a picture of Asvenew as a down on his luck young father who needed work, turning to prostitution to get money and a place to live. They said he found Adams and Powell from a Craigslist ad.
“Peter put himself out there. And make no mistake, he was hired, he was hired as prostitute, as an escort, whatever you want to call it,” said defense attorney Gabe Ermine. “Mr. Powell and Mr. Adams hired him to come into their lives.”
Asvenew stayed with the couple just a few days before the murder. Prosecutor said after killing them he took their SUV and charged up their credit cards – finally making his way to his mom’s house in North Florida. She got suspicious and turned him in.
“His mom called the police to turn her son in and tells the police my son did something. He’s looking up this article of two men murdered in Wilton Manors, that’s the car he showed up out of the blue,” said Tate.
Asvenew’s attorney said he did not kill the men. Instead, he walked into the home and found them dead and panicked.
“He was not living the lifestyle where he was going to pick up the phone and call the police,” Ermine said. “He was a survivor and he went into survival mode.”
Prosecutors don’t call him a survivor – they call him a killer.
“In a recorded phone call from Broward County jail, you’re going to hear him define himself as ‘don’t you know, I’m a stone cold killer,’” said Tate. “Through the course of the next several days, you’re going to find that that is in fact true.”