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Suspect denies killing Rocky Mount woman

Posted September 28, 2011
Updated September 30, 2011

— A Rocky Mount man on trial for strangling a woman more than two years ago took the witness stand in his own defense Wednesday, telling jurors that he did not kill her – even though prosecutors say the evidence points only to him.

Antwan Maurice Pittman, 33, testified that he picked up Taraha Shenice Nicholson, who was working as a prostitute, on March 1, 2009, drove to a hotel where they had sex and then dropped her off near a library in Rocky Mount.

Hunters found the 28-year-old's body six days later in a wooded area of rural Edgecombe County, approximately 5 miles from Pittman's childhood home.

DNA evidence taken from Nicholson's body matched Pittman's. He said he wore a condom but that it broke.

Pittman also recalled then being visited at work four months later by an agent with the State Bureau of Investigation. He refused to give a DNA sample, he said, because he was afraid, partly because he would lose his girlfriend and also because he didn't know what "SBI" meant.

Nicholson is one of nine women similar in physical appearance and with a history of prostitution whose bodies were found in the same general vicinity of Edgecombe County over a four-year period.

Although he is charged only in Nicholson's death, authorities have said that Pittman is a suspected serial killer and that he could be connected to at least seven of the women’s deaths.

Antwan Pittman testimony, pt 1 Antwan Pittman testimony, pt 1

News coverage surrounding the high-profile investigation prompted a judge to move the trial from Edgecombe County to nearby Bertie County.

Prosecutors rested their case Wednesday after only one day of presenting evidence from more than a dozen witnesses, including two former prostitutes who said Pittman tried to attack them.

Darlena Moore said he assaulted her and almost killed her in Febraury 2004 after he picked her up and tried to take her into a wooded area.

"I thought I was going to die," Moore testified. "Antwan was choking me. I kept fighting until he finally gave up and let me go."

Antwan Pittman testimony, pt 2 Antwan Pittman testimony, pt 2

Lakisha Worsley said Pittman drove her to a rural farm area about 5 miles outside of Rocky Mount, where he tried to strangle her while they were having sex in his car.

"He told me to turn around and lay down on my stomach," Worsley said. "He grabbed me, and then we struggled. I thought I was going to die."

Pittman "suddenly changed," Worsley said, and took her home.

"He asked me to forgive him for what he did," she said. "He held my hand and begged me to forgive him."

She never went to police, she added, because she was afraid and knew that prostitution is illegal.

Pittman denied knowing Moore and Worsley.

Earlier Wednesday, Mark Schlitter, a digital evidence analyst with the SBI, testified that he found rape-themed pornographic videos on Pittman's computer, as well as files indicating that someone had visited at least seven websites with domain names that have the word "rape" in them.

Schlitter also found an image of Taraha Nicholson from a news website that had been saved to the computer and Internet files from a news article about the discovery of her body.

Defense attorneys had objected to jurors hearing Schlitter's testimony, arguing that the discovery of the rape-themed video was irrelevant and prejudicial, since Pittman isn't charged with rape.


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  • mfarmer1 Sep 29, 2011

    Note This Fact: "But on cross-examination, Ermish said that her testing couldn't determine whose sperm it was. Defense attorneys also pointed out that it could have been from anyone, not just Pittman."

    So It don't look like they have a slam dunk, The case sounds very weak with that statement.

  • shemontay Sep 29, 2011

    My heart goes out to the victims families in this case. I believe in justice but not in the justice system. I KNOW for certainty.. this guy is a victim as well. A victim of His education, his enviornment and his upbring. But as adults we live or die by the choices we make. I know about, people that have been brought up in not so credible enviornments and have gone on to do great things, but not everyone has that tanasity, or ability to do that. Not that it gives him a license to kill, IF HE DID, but the sytem uses these unfortunate factors in their favor to make things appear the way they need them to. They have reported some valid evidence but they don't report all the facts. A lot has been said but TRUST a lot of important things are definitely being left out. My heart goes out to all involved.

  • workingforthosethatwont Sep 29, 2011

    really? did anyone think he would suddenly admit to it?

  • Ambygirl Sep 29, 2011

    mfarmer1, I'm not saying he's not guilty either but you also have to look at what she was doing. She could have had sex with someone after him, they used a condom. My question is was his the only DNA on her body? Not just from having sex but possibly on her clothes, her hands, somewhere else. The evidence given in the media so far certainly points in his direction, but I'm with others, they need to make absoulutely sure this is the guy. I feel sure some of her other clients had shady backgrounds also. This is going to be a tough one.....

  • mfarmer1 Sep 29, 2011

    Antwan Maurice Pittman, a registered sex offender. Pittman was convicted in 1992 of sexual abusing a 2-year-old, for which he spent just three years in prison. He also has lesser convictions for crimes ranging from assault to resisting arrest.

  • YaNot Sep 28, 2011

    "clearly some trail led to him." YaNot

    Well that clears it up.
    September 28, 2011 6:12 p.m.

    Considering we do not yet have all the facts and they do or else why waste time bringing him to trial. So clear it up for me then and tell us all then how they came across his name(his DNA was not yet on file), did they just pull his name out of a hat?

  • turkeygirl Sep 28, 2011

    Everybody saying he is guilty and if he is he deserve to pay. But if he is not then there goes yet another family that will suffer and the real killer will continue to murder women that don't deserve to be tortured that way regardless of the choice in how they live there lives. I simplify with the victim's family, but make sure they have the right person and not judge by what the media say because it seems all you hear is the bad stuff. How can anyone get a fair trial. So many have went to jail falsely accused and the real murder still out there. I really hope the have the right man because if not the will be more bodies.

  • Glenn Miller Sep 28, 2011

    "Suspect denies killing Rocky Mount woman"

    Oh...you didn't? You are free to go. Whew!...saves us TONS of money!

  • tigresspen Sep 28, 2011

    He can't really expect people to believe after he had sex with her, that another person killed her for reasons unknown and didn't leave their DNA? His DNA was on her body when she was found. That says he was last known person with her. And I wouldn't discount the women who testified about their encounter with him.

  • Remy Sep 28, 2011

    "clearly some trail led to him."

    Well that clears it up.