Lamar Davenport is charged with second-degree murder in the 2015 slaying of E'Dena Hines, the granddaughter of Freeman's first wife

An attorney for the man who allegedly murdered Morgan Freeman’s step-granddaughter E’Dena Hines reportedly claimed in court last week that Hines told her suspected killer she and Freeman had an “inappropriate” sexual relationship — an accusation both Freeman and Hines have previously, vehemently dismissed.

On Friday, Lamar Davenport’s lawyer Beth Unger alleged that before Hines’ slaying in New York City in 2015, Hines “disclosed to … Davenport and others that her grandfather engaged in a sexually inappropriate relationship with her,” the New York Daily News and the New York Post report.

Unsubstantiated rumors of an affair between the 80-year-old Oscar winner and Hines, 33, have circulated in the tabloids for several years but were strongly denied by both of them.

In a statement in 2012, Freeman said, according to TMZ: “The recent reports of any pending marriage or romantic relationship of me to anyone are defamatory fabrications from the tabloid media designed to sell papers. What is even more alarming is that these fabrications are now being picked up by the legitimate press as well.”

Hines concurred in her own statement, per TMZ. “These stories about me and my grandfather are not only untrue, they are also hurtful to me and my family,” she said.

The allegation by Davenport’s defense on Friday appears to be the first time the contested claim has been made outside of the gossip press. Davenport’s attorney did not elaborate or further allege when this relationship occurred.

Davenport is charged with second-degree murder after authorities say he stabbed Hines more than a dozen times outside their Washington Heights apartment on Aug. 16, 2015. She was found lying in the street outside her home at 3 a.m. and was taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Text messages shared on Friday during the trial showed Davenport and Hines talked about taking a break before Hines’ death, according to the Daily News. Prosecutors reportedly believe their relationship was rocky before the stabbing.

“Lamar admitted to me that they had a violent relationship,” a defense witness testified, according to the Post. “[Their] disagreements could be emotionally intense.”

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From left: E’Dena Hines and Morgan Freeman in 2005
| Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty

Hines’ grandmother is Freeman’s first wife, and Hines’ mother was Freeman’s stepdaughter until he adopted her. Hines attended a graduate acting program at New York University from 2008 to 2011 and starred in Landing Up, which premiered in 2017.

While prosecutors argue the killing was intentional, Davenport’s defense claims both he and Hines were high at the time and that Davenport was in a drug-induced psychosis and not responsible for his actions.

A defense expert testified on Friday that Davenport “lacked substantial capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions and know the nature and consequences of his conduct,” according to the Daily News.

Neighbors previously told PEOPLE the sounds of Hines being killed woke people in nearby buildings, with one neighbor claiming that Hines could be heard “screaming and the name ‘Lamar.’ “

Davenport’s lawyers could not be reached for comment Monday. Prosecutors declined to comment.

In a statement to PEOPLE immediately after Hines was killed, Freeman reflected on her talent and how she touched the lives of those who knew her.

“The world will never know her artistry and talent, and how much she had to offer,” he said. “Her friends and family were fortunate enough to have known what she meant as a person. Her star will continue to shine bright in our hearts, thoughts and prayers. May she rest in peace.”