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Here's a timeline before and after Lori Ann Slesinski's disappearance, as created by the prosecution in the Ennis case

RICK ENNIS TRIAL

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In the capital murder trial of Derrill “Rick” Ennis, which began on April 1, the prosecution has spent six days trying to paint a picture of events before and after Lori Ann Slesinski’s disappearance in June 2006.

The 12 jury members and four alternates, including 13 women and three men, have listened to Slesinski’s mother, friends and co-workers; Ennis’ former roommates, co-workers and friends; and law enforcement officers and forensic specialists.

Here is a chronological timeline of the events based on the case presented by the prosecution, including witness testimony, documents and evidence.

Friday, June 9, 2006

In 2006, Ennis was splitting his time living at his ex-girlfriend’s unit at Chateau Apartments and a friend’s house on Emily Avenue in Auburn, according to several witnesses.

Ennis had written Slesinski a love letter expressing his feelings for her, but Slesinski didn’t want to be more than friends. Almost everyone who was called to the stand who personally knew Slesinski or Ennis confirmed this.

At the time, Ennis and his ex-girlfriend, whom attorneys requested not be named, were still good friends, she said. She told the jury Ennis had told her he planned to hang out with two friends in Montgomery on Friday night and that he was going to come over to her apartment on Saturday morning at 10 a.m.

On Friday night, Ennis called Jeremy Rogers Brooks, a mechanic at AMF Auburn Lanes off Opelika Road next to Dekalb Street, where Ennis also worked. According to Brooks, Ennis told him he had run out of gas and asked if he could get him some.

Brooks didn’t have a gas can, he told the jury, so he went to the bowling alley, where there was a large five-gallon gas can and two smaller ones.

Brooks said he took the larger can, filled it up, and went to a church parking lot off South College Street where Ennis was parked. He said he noticed Ennis’ car “was backed into a spot,” which he thought “seemed a little weird.”

Brooks said Ennis asked him to pour the gas into his car, and if he could keep the gas can. Brooks said he told Ennis to pour the gas himself and that he couldn’t keep the can because it belonged to the bowling alley.

Brooks said Ennis poured the gas, and when he returned the can, it was empty. He said Ennis’ car “cranked right up.”

“That seemed really weird for me, again,” Brooks said. “I work with cars a lot. I know if you run a car out of gas, it’s not going to start right up. It takes a little while for gas to get into the line.”

Brooks returned the gas can to the bowling alley the next day when he went to work, and the other two cans were there, he said.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Ennis’ ex-girlfriend said he never showed up on Saturday and she tried calling him multiple times on Saturday and Sunday, and her calls went straight to voicemail, she said. Ennis didn’t call back, and no one she called knew where he was.

Three days later, Ennis would tell police that he went to Slesinski’s trailer on Saturday, according to a statement read in court by Jason Jenkins, a former investigator for the Auburn Police Department.

“I got there about 3 p.m.,” Ennis said in the statement. “I just went over there to say hello as I did regularly. We sat there and talked a while until she had to go to the grocery store.

“Me and Lori started growing marijuana at my house. We wound up having just over five pounds. I got two and a half pounds and Lori got two and one half pounds. She was going to sell hers and give me back $600. She was going to keep the rest since I owe her some money. I do not know if Lori sold hers on Saturday or not.

“Some places I think she may have went to sell the marijuana are Tuskegee, Union Springs or Auburn. Lori was not scared to deal with people no matter how shady or criminal they appear. In this statement, the past tense was used at times. I’m not suggesting anything has happened to Lori.”

Lindsay Braun, a friend and co-worker of Slesinski, said she had made plans with Slesinski for the two of them to have drinks Saturday night and go to the pool together on Sunday.

Around 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Braun spoke to Slesinski on the phone, she told the jury. She said Slesinski told her she was going to stop by the store to pick up a few things before coming over to Braun’s house at 7:30.

During the conversation, Braun said, she heard Ennis’s voice in the background.

Braun said she received another call from Slesinski around 7 p.m. “that just rang once,” and Slesinski wasn’t on the line when she answered. When Braun called her back, Slesinski didn’t answer, she said.

After calling Slesinski’s cell phone and landline and receiving no answer, Braun said she tried calling Ennis, who also didn’t answer.

Braun said she didn’t see or hear from Slesinski that weekend, but expected to see her at work on Monday.

Monday, June 12, 2006

On Monday, Braun said Slesinski didn’t show up to work or call in sick, which she and other coworkers found odd.

That same morning, Ennis’ ex-girlfriend said, the friend who lived on Emily Avenue where Ennis also stayed called to tell her Ennis was at his house, so she went over.

She said she woke Ennis up and asked him where he had been. She said he told her “he had been there” at the house on Emily Avenue and wanted to talk to her. They drove separately to her apartment.

“That’s when he had told me about Lori being missing,” she said. “And he had told me about the weed that they had grown because he had originally told me that it had died out.” She also said he appeared to be worried and upset.

She said Ennis had told her earlier that he was growing marijuana at Slesinski’s trailer.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

On Tuesday, Slesinski didn’t show up to work again and no one heard from her.

“At this point, I know something is terribly wrong,” Braun said. “I remember texting Rick asking if he knew if she was OK. I don’t remember the details of the conversation, but it was basically he was worried, but assumed she would be fine.”

Braun said she and Thaddeus Lockhart Sr., another co-worker, went to Slesinski’s trailer to check on her. Around 10 a.m., they arrived at the trailer and noticed Slesinski’s car was gone. The door was unlocked, they said, and they went in.

Inside, Braun, who had visited the trailer before, noticed that a trash can, gardening tools and three kitchen rugs were missing. The two co-workers also said they saw scuff marks on the hallway between Slesinski’s bedroom and kitchen, and her dog was locked in his crate. The answering machine had zero messages even though Braun said she had left several.

Slesinski’s mother, Arlene, who lived out of town and said she hadn’t spoken with her daughter since Thursday, told the jury she drove straight to Auburn on Tuesday when she learned that her daughter was missing. At the trailer, she also noticed that a Galileo thermometer, a couch pillow and a cord for the landline phone were missing, as well as the trash can and gardening tools, including a shovel and a rake.

That same day, police received the missing persons report and went out to inspect Slesinski’s trailer. Former APD lieutenant Paul Register told the court that the front door looked damaged, as if there had been “forced entry.” Former APD police officer Lee Hodge said the door looked “splintered” and that the damage looked “fresh.”

In court, Pete Macchia, who worked in the DNA forensic biology unit for the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences in the Montgomery Regional Laboratory, said he swabbed the interior doorknob of the front door of the trailer and ran a presumptive blood test of the sample. It returned as “possible blood,” Machia said, and the DNA matched Ennis.

Machia also said that the sheets from Slesinski’s bed tested positive for semen and that the DNA profile matched Ennis.

Hodge said he found a single gold loop earring on the floor in the hallway. When the earring was tested later, it contained a DNA mixture of two components, Frederick said. One matched Slesinski and the other was “too limited” to find a result, but he said he could tell it was DNA from a male.

He told the jury that the APD interviewed the family members, friends and co-workers and created a BOLO—be on the lookout—for Slesinski and her vehicle, which went out across the state.

Police also interviewed Ennis, and he told them he had visited Slesinski on Saturday and that they grew marijuana together.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Early Wednesday morning, Slesinski’s car was found engulfed in flames at the dead end of Dekalb Street next to the bowling alley where Ennis worked.

Auburn Fire Department put out the fire and police arrived. Hodge told the court that he collected a “partially burned hand-rolled cigarette” that “looked very fresh, meaning it hadn’t been there very long.”

Samuel Frederick, a forensic scientist in the biology DNA section of the Alabama Department of Forensic Science, testified that the DNA from the hand-rolled cigarette found at the car fire scene matched Ennis.

That Wednesday in 2006, Police questioned Ennis again. According to his statement, he said he went to Montgomery on Saturday after leaving Slesinski’s place to sell marijuana to a man he knew as Rod. Ennis said Rod didn’t have the money, so he went back Sunday and Monday. Ennis said that Rod paid him $2,400 and that he hid the money behind the residence at Emily Avenue.

Jenkins, the former APD investigator, said they never identified Rod or found the money Ennis said he hid. Jenkins also said nothing was found at Slesinski’s trailer that indicated weed was being grown there.

Ennis also wanted to add to the statement he’d given on Tuesday: “The only thing I forgot yesterday about being at Lori’s is that I locked my keys in my car and had to borrow a clothes hanger from Lori.”

Jenkins said he noticed scratches on Ennis’ forearms and hands. When he asked how it happened, he said Ennis didn’t know.

Randy Armstrong, a former APD detective, testified that he searched Ennis’ vehicle that day and found Clorox, Febreze, three other types of bathroom cleaners and a scrub brush.

In response to questions from the defense, Armstrong said he wasn’t saying that the cleaning supplies had anything to do with the case, and that he wasn’t aware of tests being performed on anything found in Ennis’ vehicle.

According to Frederick, the scrub brush found in Ennis’ vehicle was tested and it was positive for presumptive blood, but no DNA matches were obtained.

Friday June 16, 2006

Former APD detective Hodge said police returned to the car fire scene and found a small red gas can in the woods behind Dekalb Street.

Police then questioned Brooks and asked him to identify the gas can, Brooks testified.

Brooks said he checked the fire cabinet and one of the small ones was missing and that it was the same one found by the police.

Ennis’ defense responded in court by saying there are “millions of gas cans” that look like the one that was found in the woods.

According to court testimony, no prints could be identified on the gas can found in the woods near the car fire scene.

Brooks told the jury that after he was questioned by police, Ennis called him and wanted to know what they’d talked to him about. Ennis also wanted to sell Brooks his motorcycle as well as some DVDs and anything else he could. “He was worried,” Brooks said, “because, again, he said in his exact words, ‘They’re treating me like I’m the prime suspect’.’”

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Chris Murray, then sergeant of general investigations for APD, went back to Slesinski’s trailer and found a wire hanger near her bed that was “stretched out long ways,” he told the court.

According to a forensics report, no blood or DNA was detected on the coat hanger.

Huntsville, 2007

In 2007, Ennis moved in with Abram Sissons, with whom he was working at a Ruby Tuesday restaurant in Huntsville, Alabama. When he did, he brought the kitchen rugs, which Sissons told the jury Ennis had said were a gift from Slesinski.

Sissons explained to the jury that he had only known Ennis as Rick, and when he saw a piece of mail addressed to his full name, he Googled it and found some information that alarmed him.

He said he called the Alabama Bureau of Investigation and then called Ennis to tell him to leave his apartment. Sissons said Ennis questioned why he had to leave and said he hadn’t done anything.

After calling the police, Sissons didn’t go back to his apartment and stayed the night at his girlfriend’s residence, he said. The next day, he called the Huntsville police asking them to go with him to his apartment in case Ennis was there, he said.

Sissons said the apartment was “trashed, things were broken and scattered everywhere.” He also noticed the oven was on and inside was a glass cup with some kind of liquid and something hanging out of it that was burnt.

Ennis had left behind clothes and his bed, Sissons said. The rugs Ennis had said were a gift from Slesinski, according to Sissons, were now “next to the front door in a bag.”

Frederick, the forensic scientist, would testify in court that one of the missing rugs from Slesinski’s trailer tested positive for presumptive blood, and that the DNA profile matched Ennis.

Sissons also told the jury that he saw a Galileo thermometer in Ennis’ room at the place he was living before he moved in with him. Sissons said he’s not sure what happened to it when Ennis moved in.

South Carolina, 2009

Terry Booth was talking with his friend Ennis at a Wild Wing Café in South Carolina in 2009.

Booth had met Ennis a year earlier and worked with him in the electronics department at a Sam’s Club there. Ennis had told him he’d left Auburn because “he’d gotten into some trouble and he had to get out,” Booth told the jury.

He said the topic came up again at the restaurant, and he asked Ennis why he had to get out of Auburn.

“He said he strangled a bitch,” Booth told the jury.

Booth said he didn’t believe Ennis at the time, and that Ennis didn’t say when or where it happened.

Ennis and Slesinski were acquaintances, Booth testified, but “she didn’t want anything to do with him and he was a little upset about that.”

He said that Ennis called Slesinski “a white piece of trailer park trash.”

Virginia, 2018

On Aug. 6, Ennis was arrested in Pilot, Virginia, without incident and was booked at the county jail without bond. It was his birthday.

Investigators had been working for about 15 months in a small jury room at the Lee County Justice Center, which they called “the war room,” to solve the cold case of Slesinski’s disappearance.

The investigation was a collaborative effort between Auburn police, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Cold Case Unit and the Lee County District Attorney’s Office, and it led to the grand jury indictments of capital murder-burglary and capital murder-kidnapping against Ennis, said Brandon Hughes, then the Lee County district attorney.

On Aug. 22, after being extradited to Lee County, Ennis pleaded not guilty on two counts of capital murder.

When Booth, the friend from South Carolina, later saw an article about Ennis’ arrest, he said it “brought back the memories of what he said.” Booth called the number at the bottom of the article to give a statement to police, he said.

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