Created on Monday, 04 November 2013 Written by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
ZANESVILLE, Ohio (AP) — A man was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the death of a severely burned 29-year-old woman who was found wailing along a rural eastern Ohio road.
LaFonse Dixon listens while his attorney Larry Thompson speaks during Dixon's sentencing hearing on Monday, Nov. 4, 2013 in Zanesville, Ohio. Dixon was sentenced in Muskingum County Common Pleas Court to life in prison with the possibility of parole for his role in the death of Celeste Fronsman in August 2012. Fronsman was found beaten and burned near Dresden and later died of her injuries. (AP Photo/Times Recorder, Chris Crook )
The judge followed the recommendation of the jury in sentencing LaFonse Dixon Jr., 34, of Canton. He had been eligible for the death penalty, but the jury recommended that he be spared after hearing evidence of his trouble upbringing.
Two women pleaded guilty in the case to avoid the death penalty and testified against Dixon. They said the trio took Celeste Fronsman, of Canton, to rural Muskingum County, where she was set on fire and abandoned in August 2012. A driver found the woman on the road, bleeding and with a strap around her neck. She died two days later.
Prosecutors said the attack was retaliation stemming from the belief that Fronsman tipped police to a drug stash house.
Defense attorneys had argued that Dixon wasn't involved and that the women who testified, Katrina Culberson and Monica Washington, were liars trying to save themselves.
The driver who found Fronsman on the road testified that Fronsman was wailing in pain and her skin was falling off but she had enough strength to name at least two of her attackers.
"Ms. Fronsman died a horrific death at your hands," Muskingum County Common Pleas Judge Kelly Cottrill told Dixon in sentencing him. "Your self-absorbed, anything-goes lifestyle led directly to her death."
Another judge on Monday sentenced Washington to life in prison, with a chance of parole after 25 years. Culberson is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday.