The trial of LaFonse Dixon started Tuesday, almost 14 months after the burning body of a Canton woman was found on State Route 208 in Muskingum County.
The 34-year-old defendant from Canton has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder with two specifications, kidnapping and aggravated arson. Prosecutor Mike Haddox began his opening statement with a photo of 29-year-old Celeste Fronsman, who was found beaten, strangled and burned alive August 26, 2012. She died two days later. He said after a drug raid at Dixon's house in Aug. 2012, Dixon believed it was Fronsman who was behind the raid. He went on to say the trio, including Monica Washington and Katrina Culberson, also known as "KC," drove to Muskingum County and poured gasoline on Fronsman to dispose of her body.
"Celeste is unconscious and bleeding profusely," Haddox explained of what happened. "They picked Celeste up by her upper body telling Monica to take her by the ankles and they carry her across Steelmill Road and back into the tall grass."
Haddox said Dixon then handed Culberson the lighter and set Fronsman on fire. The defense described Culberson as a troubled prostitute, a liar who didn't want to share Dixon with anyone and as the one responsible for the death of Fronsman.
"And you're gonna hear that it was KC (Culberson) who poured that gasoline, you're gonna hear that it was KC who lit that match," said defense attorney Isabella Dixon. "You're gonna hear that it was KC who knew about his area."
Washington and Culberson have both pleaded guilty to all 3 charges. As part of their plea deal to avoid the death penalty, they will testify against Dixon and in return will get life in prison without the possibility of parole. The trial continues Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. WHIZ will have continuous coverage throughout the trial.