(Juneau) A Fox Lake murder suspect was found guilty Friday following a two-week jury trial. Laverne Ware Jr. was convicted on five felony charges including First Degree Intentional Homicide, Hiding a Corpse, Incest and Felon In Possession of a Firearm in connection with the December 2016 death of his girlfriend and first cousin, Sesalie Dixon.
The jury, brought in from Jefferson County, deliberated for around six hours until they reached their verdict around 1:30am Saturday. Ware fired three, nine-millimeter rounds into Dixon’s head on December 3. Her body was discovered inside Ware’s pickup truck at a home that was purchased by the defendant for his mother Marjorie Jones.
The crime was first reported to law enforcement the following day by Jones’ live-in boyfriend, Vernon Mickey. The 59-year-old Mickey is currently facing a felony count of Harboring a Felon for not immediately notifying authorities of the crime but he struck a plea deal with the Dodge County District Attorney’s Office to have all charges dropped if he followed through on several stipulations, that includes providing truthful testimony.
Mickey said at trial that he observed blood dripping from the truck the night of the crime and shortly after saw Ware with a pink nine-millimeter hand gun. This pink handgun, which Mickey said was the victim’s gun, was identified as the murder weapon through shell casings recovered from the scene.
Over forty witnesses testified at trial, including convicted bank robber Malik Critton. He said Ware confessed the crime to him and said the motive for the killing was that Dixon was falling out of love with the defendant and she was packing up her clothes. Meanwhile, the defense argued that Ware’s mother was the actually perpetrator of the crime.
They say Jones was upset because Dixon had stolen money and prescription pills from her as well as her boyfriend Vernon Mickey. When Jones was asked directly if she killed Dixon she called Ware’s attorney a liar and adamantly refused the claim. She also refused knowledge of admitting on tape that Ware confessed the crime to her, saying that her voice was “fixed” by police to say those things.
On Friday, the state and the defense had one last opportunity to state their cases during closing arguments. Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg said he has no doubt Ware killed Dixon and that all supporting evidence points to him. Klomberg said he had proven Ware guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Ware’s attorney Aneeq Ahmad said Ware’s life was in the jury’s hands and that it takes absolutely certainty to lock someone up and throw away the keys. Ware declined his opportunity to take the stand after discussing the possibility for over an hour on Friday with his attorneys. Citing cross-examination by Klomberg as a factor in his decision. A pre-sentencing investigation was ordered and Ware will be sentenced at a later date.