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Death penalty sought for Oak Ridge pair charged with Jennifer Paxton murder

The pair was arrested in August of 2020 for the murder of Jennifer Paxton and has been in custody at the Anderson County Detention Facility.
If Dishman is sentenced to death and executed before Pike, she will be the first woman to be executed by the state in more than 200 years.
Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 6:53 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 10, 2022 at 7:05 PM EST
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OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Sean Finnegan and Rebecca Dishman, the couple accused of murder, rape and exploitation of a child, were formally indicted for murder by an Anderson County Grand Jury on June 1. The grand jury also returned an indictment for the rape and exploitation of a child.

They were charged with first-degree murder, aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence, according to District Attorney General Dave Clark.

Clark announced on Monday that he has filed a notice that he will be seeking the death penalty for the pair.

“Once a Notice of Intent to Seek Sentence of Death has been filed in a case, special procedures are initiated in the court case,” said Clark. “Among those is the appointment of a death penalty qualified attorney for each defendant and the right to a second attorney.”

The couple first faced first-degree murder charges in August of 2020 for the death of 36-year-old Jennifer Paxton. Investigators said Dishman and Finnegan lured Paxton into their home with the promise of giving her a place to stay and paid her $100 to participate in sexual relations with him and his girlfriend. Once Paxton entered the home, officials said she was held against her will.

Oak Ridge Police Department Sergeant Marvell Moore was the first witness called to the stand.

Paxton was allegedly kept in the home for a period of three to four days, according to Moore. She was given food but restricted from leaving the room. Paxton was forced to use the bathroom in a bucket, investigators said.

The case is scheduled to be back in court on March 4.

In 2018, Tennessee resumed capital punishment. Seven Tennesseans have been executed since that time, according to the Tennessee Department of Corrections website.

There is only one woman currently on death row in Tennessee, Christa Pike, who is still waiting on her execution date to be set. Pike was arrested in 1995 and charged in 1996 with first-degree murder.

If Dishman is sentenced to death and executed before Pike, she will be the first woman to be executed by the state in more than 200 years.

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