OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – The man who killed Auburn University graduate Lori Ann Slesinski in 2006 has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The sentencing comes as Lee County District Attorney Jessica Ventiere informed the judge Slesinkski’s mother decided the best option for her family is to not seek the death penalty and the lengthy appeals process associated with it.
Thursday just before lunch a Lee County jury found Rick Ennis guilty in the Capital Murder, Kidnapping, and Burglary in the slaying of 24-year-old Lori Ann Slesinski nearly 16 years ago in Auburn.
Prosecutors were seeking the death penalty in the case but decided to request life in prison without the possibility of parole after speaking with Lori Ann’s mother. The jury has been dismissed after three weeks. It took them about eight hours over two days to deliver the guilty verdicts.
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 alive, and when questioned after Lori vanished detectives took pictures of fresh scratches on his arms and hands. Prosecutors said located in his car, a murderer’s tool kit 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 Ennis is the killer. Ennis says the last time he spoke with Lori she was supposed to meet with a drug dealer to sell the marijuana the duo had been growing together.
A body has never been located.
The defense has given the court notice they plan to appeal.