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Published: Tuesday, 10/15/2013

Defense rests in Ohio burned woman slaying trial

Zanesville man charged with beating, burning woman who later died


ZANESVILLE, Ohio — A woman who died after being found beaten and burned on an eastern Ohio road didn’t name a man on trial in her death as she was being taken to a hospital, an emergency medical technician testified Tuesday.

In the final day of testimony in the trial of LaFonse Dixon, one of three people accused in the death of 29-year-old Celeste Fronsman, the EMT said she only heard Fronsman utter the name of a woman who has already pleaded guilty in the August 2012 attack.

EMT Angela Wortman testified that she heard Fronsman say only the name of K.C. Culberson, who along with another woman has already pleaded guilty in the case to avoid a possible death penalty and testified against Dixon.

Wortman told jurors that Fronsman was severely injured with burns, bruises and cuts all over her body. Fronsman was unable to tell EMTs her own name, Wortman testified.

Wortman testified she was with Fronsman the entire time during the ambulance ride, and Culberson’s name was the only one she heard her say.

The prosecution ended its case Tuesday morning, and the defense then called only two witnesses before resting its case, the Zanesville Times Recorder reported. Closing arguments were expected Wednesday.

The defense’s other witness was DNA expert Julie Heining, who testified regarding the roll of masking tape allegedly used to bind Fronsman’s hands during the crime. Another DNA expert testifying for the prosecution on Monday had said that Dixon’s DNA profile matches that found on the tape.

Heining testified that she could only say that Dixon can’t be excluded and that she couldn’t say that he was “the DNA donor on the tape,” the newspaper reported.

The driver who found Fronsman on the road testified Monday that Fronsman was wailing in pain and her skin was falling off but had enough strength to name at least two of her attackers. Driver Mark Bretz of Newark told jurors Monday that Fronsman said “Fonse” and Culberson, when he asked who hurt her.

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