Man gets life in slaying of burned Ohio woman

ZANESVILLE, Ohio — 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.

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 Dixon be spared after hearing evidence of his troubled 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.

“Ms. Fronsman died a horrific death at your hands,” Muskingum County Common Pleas Judge Kelly Cottrill told Dixon. “Your self-absorbed, anything-goes lifestyle led directly to her death.”

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 she was wailing in pain and her skin was falling off but she had enough strength to name at least two of her attackers.

Another judge on Monday sentenced Washington to life in prison, with a chance of parole after 25 years.

“We believe justice was served,” Prosecutor Mike Haddox said after Dixon and Washington were sentenced. He said Dixon’s sentence included 11 years in prison for a kidnapping charge in addition to the life term.

Prosecutors are recommending life in prison without parole for Culberson. She is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday.

More in Local News

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s best images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Trail work by juvenile offenders builds resumes, confidence

Kayak Point trails were built out this year by groups from Denney Juvenile Justice Center.

Volunteers clean up homeless camp infested with garbage

The organization’s founder used to live and do drugs in the same woods.

Families begin relocating from public housing complex

Baker Heights is in need of repairs deemed to costly to make, and will be demolished and replaced.

Everett mayoral campaign is one of the priciest ever

Many campaign donors are giving to both Cassie Franklin and Judy Tuohy.

Arrests made in robbery-turned fatal Everett shooting

A man, 24, and woman, 18, were found at a hotel in Seattle.

3 fire departments seek levies to support emergency services

District 25 in Oso is hoping to pass its first fire levy in 22 years.

Flooding still a concern on Snohomish River

Flood warning in effect until Monday afternoon for Monroe and Tuesday morning for Snohomish.

Front Porch

JUST FOR YOUTH Build with balloons Youth in fourth grade and up… Continue reading

Most Read