(Juneau) The state’s top witness took the stand Wednesday in the trial of a Fox Lake murder suspect. The testimony of Vernon Mickey places the murder weapon in the possession of Laverne Ware Jr the night he is accused of killing his girlfriend, Sesalie Dixon. Prosecutors say Ware shot the 27-year-old in the head with three, nine-millimeter rounds on December 3.
Mickey was the live-in boyfriend of Ware’s mother, Marjorie Jones, and the defense is arguing that Jones is the actual perpetrator of the crime. Jones was sentenced to six years in prison last year for helping conceal the murder. Both Jones and Mickey lived on We Go Trail in Fox Lake, a property that was purchased by Ware after he received a significant inheritance from his father. Dixon’s body was discovered in the cab of Ware’s pickup truck inside the home’s garage.
During the state’s questioning, Mickey testified that on the night of the murder, several family members had gathered at their We Go Trail home after a funeral. Mickey said that both Ware and Dixon left together sometime in the early evening hours; he believed they departed in Ware’s pickup truck. Mickey stated that he went to the basement to watch a Badger football game and around halftime he went to the garage for a beer. That’s when Mickey saw the truck inside the garage, which surprised him because he thought the vehicle was too large to fit. Mickey also saw what he believed to be transmission fluid dripping from the truck but later realized it was blood.
When Mickey went inside, Ware and his mother were saying Dixon had run off. Jones then apparently wanted Mickey and Ware to go to a bar in Fox Lake. Before leaving, Mickey said that Ware pulled out a pink nine-millimeter handgun from his waistband. This pink handgun, which Mickey said was the victim’s gun, was identified as the murder weapon through shell casings recovered from the scene. Mickey testified that Ware removed a clip from the firearm then overhead the defendant ask Jones to place the gun under the living room couch. The two left the bar at closing time and Mickey said he went to the Kwik Trip on State Street three separate times.
The first time was at 3:30am the morning after the murder, to purchase rolling papers. The second time was around 9am to purchase cigarettes for Jones. The third time was at 4pm, which is when Mickey used the store’s phone to call 911. During the call, Mickey indicated that the victim was most likely Sesalie Dixon. Mickey said that he knew during his second visit to Kwik Trip that Dixon was dead but wanted to hold off calling 911 because the gun was still at the home and he was not sure what could happen.
Mickey’s testimony is part of a plea deal with the state. The 59-year-old is still facing one felony count of Harboring a Felon stemming from this case. The charges would be dropped if Mickey followed through on several stipulations, that includes providing truthful information in both Ware’s case and Jones’ case.
During cross-examination, the defense focused on some inconsistencies in Mickey’s testimony. Mickey testified during Jones’ trial that he saw Jones place the pink handgun under the couch while at Ware’s trial he said that he only heard Ware ask her to do so. Ware’s attorney’s also questioned Mickey about the additional statements he gave after his initial comments to police. Mickey said he simply remembered more details. The defense also noted that Mickey did not hear the truck enter the garage and did not hear a gunshot the evening of the crime. Today (Thursday) is day four of the two-week jury trial.
Listen to Vernon Mickey’s 911 call here: