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Murder: The Most Serious of All Charges

Celeste Fronsman’s life came to a brutal end. She was found along the side of a road in Muskingum County, Ohio, begging for help and badly beaten, with burns over 70 percent of her body from being set on fire. She died two days later. Canton drug dealer LaFonse Dixon was charged with her murder, allegedly committed in retaliation for Fronsman tipping off police about his drug business. In October 2013, a year after Fronsman’s death, a jury found Dixon guilty of aggravated murder.

Aggravated murder: facing the death penalty

In Ohio, the crime with the most serious consequences is aggravated murder. You commit aggravated murder under the following circumstances:

  • Killing another person after planning the murder beforehand
  • Killing someone while committing a violent crime
  • Killing someone under 13 years old
  • Killing someone while in prison or while escaping from prison
  • Killing a law enforcement officer who was performing official duties
  • Killing a law enforcement officer specifically because the victim was a law enforcement officer

The penalty for aggravated murder is life imprisonment or death. A death penalty is imposed in a special sentencing proceeding where evidence is heard by the same jury that heard the case itself.

The serious business of defending against murder charges

Because of the serious consequences of all murder charges, defense attorneys must pursue every avenue to defend their clients. The lawyers, assisted by their own investigators and experts, review all the state’s evidence, such as police reports, witness statements, lab reports and physical evidence, including DNA and firearms. They investigate whether the arrest was legal, whether the witnesses have motives to lie and whether the evidence was securely preserved. The investigators go to the scene of the murder and try to find witnesses whose stories differ from that of the prosecution witnesses.

If you or someone you know is charged with murder or aggravated murder, you want the resourceful representation provided by the Columbus Ohio criminal defense attorneys at Yavitch & Palmer Co., LPA. We are experienced in defending murder cases and have all the resources and support personnel necessary to provide you with the best possible defense.

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