JUNEAU — A federal inmate awaiting sentencing on bank robbery charges told a Dodge County courtroom Monday that Laverne Ware Jr. admitted to him that he had killed his girlfriend.
Ware is charged with first-degree homicide in the shooting death of Sesalie Dixon, his girlfriend and cousin. In addition, he is charged with hiding a corpse, incest and two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He could face life in prison if convicted and has been held at the Dodge County Jail since January 2017 on a $2.5 million cash bond.
At one point while he was incarcerated, Ware was housed with Malik Critton in a pod at the jail.
Critton testified that Ware told him he had beaten his girlfriend and he shot her in the head. An autopsy revealed Dixon died of three gunshots to the head.
“When did he tell you that?” Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg said.
“Dec. 18, 2017 — I wrote it down,” Critton said. “He told me that Papa Vern called the police and was panicking. If he would have killed Papa Vern, he would have gotten away with murder. His mother was going to help him. She was in court too with this case.”
“Papa Vern” is Vernon Mickey, the former boyfriend of Ware’s mother, Marjorie Jones. Mickey made the 911 call on Dec. 4, 2016, leading to the discovery of Dixon’s body in the garage at 100 We Go Trail in Fox Lake. Mickey, who is charged with harboring/aiding a felon, testified last week in the trial.
Jones, whom the defense has cited as a possible alternative suspect in the case, is still set to testify in the case. She was convicted on related charges of harboring/aiding a felon for hiding the gun that killed Dixon along with possession of a firearm as a felon, and was sentenced last March to six years in prison.
Critton pleaded guilty to the 2016 armed robbery of a Brown Deer bank in October 2017, the same month he was transferred to the Dodge County Jail. He was incarcerated there until February 2018, and is now housed at the Kenosha County Jail.
Critton, in his testimony Monday, said that he wanted to let people know what Ware had told him. Klomberg asked, “Is it truthful that you are hoping providing information will help you with sentencing?” Critton answered in the affirmative. He is scheduled to be sentenced on the armed robbery charges next month.
Defense attorney Aneeq Ahmad asked Critton about the plea agreement he had signed in federal court and mentioned it was around the time he was assigned to the Dodge County Jail.
“At a minimum, you are looking at 11 or so years,” Ahmad said.
Critton told Ahmad that he didn’t want to go back to prison and said that he would like to meet his child, whom he has never seen.
Ahmad asked Critton about the letter he had written to the Dodge County District Attorney’s office mentioning that he had information related to the homicide, and pressed why he did not provide all the notes he had written with his letter.
“Your notes, the important information on a murder case, were destroyed,” Ahmad said. “Why didn’t you provide the information right away?”
“I also had them in my mind,” Critton said.
“You were hoping once they interviewed you that they’d put in a good word,” Ahmad said. “They wanted something in return.”
Ahmad asked Critton why he didn’t have a lot of details, like the type gun used or where Dixon’s death occurred.
Critton did not answer those questions, but he attempted to provide more details about Ware for the jury.
“Laverne told me his dad died,” Critton said. “His dad or his uncle or something like that. Someone died.”
Critton said that Ware told him Dixon was packing up her clothes and wanted to leave him, and he felt she didn’t love him.
Critton said Ware told him, “’I shot (her) in the head,’ and he motioned three times when he did it.”
Testimony was also given Monday by sheriff’s deputies who responded to the 100 We Go Trail residence on the day Dixon’s body was found, as well as neighbors and a few people who saw Ware the previous night.
Tylor Rodenkirch, who lives up the road from the 100 We Go Trail address, said he remembered seeing Ware at Snappers Sports Bar on State Street that night and later saw Ware’s vehicles parked in the driveway at 100 We Go Trail with a blue Ford Mustang parked behind the Dodge Ram truck.
Shannon Riel also saw Ware the night of Dec. 3 at Snappers and happened to ask him about where Dixon was that night.
“He said she was gone, but he had told me that multiple times before,” Riel said. “He said this time she’s not coming back.”
Ware’s trial began last week and is expected to end Friday.