(Juneau) As the state rests their case, the defense began calling witnesses at a Fox Lake murder trial Wednesday. Laverne Ware Jr. is charged with shooting his girlfriend and first cousin Sesalie Dixon on December 3, 2016. Ware allegedly fired three, nine-millimeter rounds into Dixon’s head. The body was found in Ware’s pickup truck at a home that was purchased by the defendant for his mother Marjorie Jones. The defense argues that the 56-year-old Jones is the actual perpetrator of the crime. They maintain that Jones was upset because Dixon had stolen money, pills and her 59-year-old, live-in boyfriend.
The first witness called by the defense was the victim’s father Stanley Johnson who is in custody on felony charges of Threats To a Law Enforcement Officer out of Milwaukee County. Ware’s attorneys suggest that Jones, who is Johnson’s sister, threatened to kill Dixon. Their evidence is a phone conversation that Johnson had with a Dodge County detective. Johnson told the detectives that his sister had threatened to kill Dixon “ten times.” The call was played outside the presence of the jury.
While discussions were being had on whether to allow the jury to hear the recording, Johnson said that any threats his sister made towards Dixon were being misinterpreted. He said this style of language is common in his family due to their background in boxing. Johnson said using explicit language and making threats to kill a person is not out-of-the-normal in the corner of a boxing ring. He noted that Jones was a boxer and even fought Muhammed Ali’s daughter Laila Ali in 2000. Johnson added that he did not remember that conversation taking place and was rambling due to the emotional state he was in after hearing that his daughter had died.
The state objected to the audio based on hearsay while the defense called it an excited utterance that should be allowed. Judge Brian Pfitzinger ruled in favor of the prosecution. When questioned by District Attorney Kurt Klomberg, Johnson said arguments between Dixon and Jones, as well as other family members, were normal and that he comes from a dysfunctional family.
Johnson also testified that he does not remember a time when Jones ever handled a gun and that she was terrified of guns because one of her brothers was killed in front of her. He added that Ware loved guns and that he saw Ware own (quote) “all types of guns.” Johnson said his sister (quote) “wouldn’t kill nothing and wouldn’t let nothing die.” Thursday marks the ninth day of the two-week jury trial.