(Juneau) Opening statements got underway Tuesday in the case against a Fox Lake man accused of murder. Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg said it is his burden to prove that Laverne Ware Jr. killed his girlfriend and first cousin Sesalie Dixon.
Klomberg says the victim was found inside Ware’s garage on December 4, 2016 with three, nine-millimeter gunshot wounds to her head. It is the state’s position that the homicide occurred sometime during the evening hours of December 3 and was first reported to law enforcement the following day by Vernon Mickey. Mickey is currently facing felony charges for not immediately notifying authorities of the homicide.
Klomberg said while a black nine-millimeter gun was located inside Ware’s home covered in what appeared to a blood-like substance, it was actually a pink nine-millemeter firearm that matched shell casings recovered from the scene.
The DA said the jury will hear from various witnesses who were told by Ware the night of the murder that Dixon left him, along with a bank robber who allegedly heard Ware’s confession. Klomberg said there is a lot of forensic evidence that corroborates the state’s case. In closing, Klomberg said it will be up to the jury to determine what the truth is but he is confident once all the evidence is presented, they will find the defendant guilty.
Meanwhile, Ware’s attorneys – Aneeq Ahmad and Anjali Sharma – suggest their own client’s innocence by offering up another suspect who had a direct connection, opportunity and motive to kill Dixon. Sharma said Ware’s own mother, Marjorie Jones, committed the crime. She said most of the resentment stems from an inheritance Ware received from his father, of which Jones saw nothing.
The defense says during Ware’s five-year relationship with Dixon, they went on trips and he bought her various gifts including a diamond engagement ring and a fur coat. Sharma said these gifts made Jones furious because her son was using the money she believed to be hers and demanded Ware buy her the exact same items. Sharma said Jones viewed Ware’s relationship with Dixon as an embarrassment and that Jones was not only losing the money, but also her son, to Dixon.
The defense argues that Jones discovered, in the days before the murder, that Dixon had stolen money and prescription pills from her and that Jones’ live-in boyfriend, Vernon Mickey, had slept with Dixon. Sharma said that send Jones “over the edge” and resulted in murder. Sharma suggested that Jones threatened to kill Dixon over ten times. Further statements by the defense suggest that Ware was enjoying his life with Dixon and had no motive to kill her and that Jones had possession of the murder weapon before and after the shooting.
The defense concluded their statements by disagreeing with the state’s notion that there is DNA evidence and blood stains linking Ware to the crime, saying all that evidence is circumstantial. Today marks day three of the two-week trial.