On Wednesday, Muskingum County Common Pleas Court Judge Kelly Cottrill sentenced 22-year-old Katrina Culberson to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In September of 2012, Culberson pleaded guilty to aggravated murder, kidnapping and aggravated arson in the murder of 29-year-old Celeste Fronsman. Culberson, Monica Washington and LaFonse Dixon kidnapped Fronsman in Canton the morning of Aug. 26, 2012 and burned her alive after beating her and leaving her for dead in a wooded area off SR 208 in Muskingum County
Judge Cottrill said, "Ms. Culberson…. you know what you did.. you know well what happened, who instigated it, who directed a lot of it and you just look at yourself for that."
Culberson, sobbing in her orange jumpsuit, apologized for her part in Fronsman’s murder.
"I would like to say sorry for Celeste’s family and to her friends," Culberson said while sobbing in the courtroom. "I know what I did was really horrible and there’s nothing I can do to make it better, I can just offer my deepest sympathy and deepest regret."
As for 25-year-old Washington, she was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years. Dixon, 34, did not take a plea deal and was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Muskingum County Prosecutor Mike Haddox says what he’ll remember most about the bizarre case is not only the horrendous way Fronsman died, but more importantly, her will to live and the man who found her.
"To crawl, or walk whatever she did about a third of a mile to get to that road, and then Mark Bretz, I’ll never get Mark Bretz out of my mind," explained Haddox. "Truly divine intervention I think. This guy was an angel and what he did was unbelievable."
Haddox says although he’s relieved the case is over, he says there’s sadness and sympathy for everyone involved.
"The bottom line is they did a horrible inhumane act to another human being that can’t be forgiven and so at the end of the day I sit here and I feel that justice has been served."