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Double-murder trial goes to closing arguments

Closing arguments are expected to begin Thursday in the trial of a man accused of killing two teenage girls from Charlotte in 1993.

Antwan Maurice Sanders, 33, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. If convicted of those charges, he would be sentenced to life in prison.

The jury could begin deliberating this afternoon in the 15-year-old case.

The victims – Tasha Lopes, 17, and Raylynn Chelton, 15 – were friends from Olympic High School. They went missing from a southwest Charlotte apartment complex on June 3, 1993. Their naked bodies were found five days later at an industrial park. Police said they had been sexually asaulted and fatally shot.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police charged Sanders in 2004, more than a decade after the slayings. The killings were the first assigned to the department's cold case squad, which works on old, unsolved homicides.

When officers interviewed residents of Emerald Bay Apartments, where Raylynn and her mother lived, several people said they'd heard a commotion the night before the two girls went missing.

Shortly after their disappearance, one resident told the Observer he heard gunshots and someone yelling, ‘Get in the car.' He said he didn't call police because he thought the people were fooling around.

Five days after the girls' mothers called police, Tasha and Raylynn were found dead by workers clearing a lot in the Chemway Industrial Park.