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Key witness testifies in Fox Lake homicide case

Vernon Mickey, left, points out an area on a handmade floor plan of the 100 We Go Trail Fox Lake home where he lived with Marjorie Jones in 2016 as Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg, right, leans over to look. Mickey testified in the homicide trial of Laverne Ware Jr. Wednesday.

JUNEAU – The man who reported Sesalie Dixon’s death testified in the first-degree homicide trial against Laverne Ware Jr. Wednesday.

Vernon Mickey, the former boyfriend of Ware’s mother Marjorie Jones, made the 911 call on Dec. 4, 2016, leading to the discovery of Sesalie Dixon’s body in the garage at 100 We Go Trail in Fox Lake.

“I told them there was possibly a dead body in the garage at 100 We Go Trail,” Mickey said. “A dead person. I went to the Kwik Trip on State Street. I was wanting to report a possible homicide.”

Mickey is charged with harboring or aiding a felon. He testified Wednesday that he signed an agreement with the District Attorney’s Office that the charge against him would be dismissed for his honest testimony in the cases for Ware and Jones.

Jones, 66, was found guilty in January 2018 for her role in obstructing officers and hiding the gun that killed Dixon. She was sentenced last March to six years in prison. As part of Mickey’s agreement, he remains on bond and must remain in Dodge County. He must cooperate with the state and may not commit any other crimes.

Ware, 38, is accused of fatally shooting Sesalie Dixon, his girlfriend and first cousin. A Jefferson County jury is hearing the case which also includes charges of hiding a corpse, incest and two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Mickey said he met Ware in 1999 shortly after meeting Jones. Mickey said he never heard Ware acknowledge being closely related to Dixon.

The weekend of Dec. 3, 2016, there was a funeral for one of Jones’ brothers. Dwight Johnson died on Nov. 28, 2016. Family joined together at the We Go Trail home after the funeral.

Mickey said during the gathering he was visiting with Jones’ family and trying to keep up with the dishes. He also had the Wisconsin Badgers game on in the basement, but realized that everyone was leaving around 7:30 p.m. because he was taking out the garbage around that time. He said he saw Ware and Dixon get into the truck at the same time.

“I remember seeing them get in the truck – the black truck,” Mickey said. “I didn’t see (Ware’s other vehicle) the Mustang. I don’t know if they both left in the truck.”

Mickey said Jones was on the couch and getting ready to sleep when he went downstairs to watch the game.

Before halftime of the game, Mickey said he went to the garage to get a beer, and noticed the truck in the garage.

“I never saw it there before,” Mickey said. “I didn’t even think it could fit in there. I noticed that something was dripping out of the bottom of it and it appeared to be blood.”

Mickey said he didn’t further investigate the incident, but he came back in the house and saw Jones and Ware talking together.

“At that time, I walked in and saw them and Marjorie informed me that Sesalie had ran off,” Mickey said.

Marjorie then told Mickey to go to the bar with Ware and she stayed at home. He said Ware drove them in Ware’s Ford Mustang. Before they left, Mickey said Ware had pulled the pink gun out of the waist band of his pants.

“He took the clip out and put it on the kitchen table,” Mickey said. “Verne told Marjorie to put the gun under the couch.”

Mickey said he did not see her put the gun under the couch because he had gone downstairs to change.

“As far as I know he was there,” Mickey said. “He was not in my sight the whole time. I was directly in front of the TV.”

Mickey said he only had short and brief conversations with Ware at the bar.

Mickey also recalled a situation that happened shortly before Dixon’s death when Jones had threatened him with a gun. He said a sister of Jones was there put the gun used to make the threat, a black gun belonging to Ware, in a location where it hadn’t been before.

Mickey also recalled a week or so earlier when Ware confronted Sesalie in his bedroom at the We Go Trail home.

“I could hear him accusing her of things, and she was crying,” Mickey said.

Jones ended the confrontation, but Dixon had two black eyes and a cut on her forehead, Mickey said.

Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg asked Mickey where Ware lived on Dec. 3, 2016. Mickey told him that Ware and Dixon stayed in an apartment on Green Street in Fox Lake at the time. However Ware also had a bedroom at the 100 We Go Trail home.

“It was Vernie’s house,” Mickey said. “He bought the house for his mother and father, but when he came to the house it was his.”

Ware and Mickey stayed at the bar until closing time and then came back to the We Go Trail residence. After they came home, Mickey went to the Kwik Trip down the street for rolling papers before going back to the home and smoking crack cocaine with Jones while Ware snorted cocaine. No one slept during that night and Mickey went back to Kwik Trip later that night to pick up cigarettes and a two liter bottle of Pepsi for Jones.

During the night, Mickey said he saw Ware take his mother to the kitchen to talk and they both looked toward the garage during the conversation. Around this point, Mickey said he knew he had to figure out a plan.

“I specifically had an understanding that the body was in the garage at 3 o clock,” Mickey said, however he had safety concerns for not reporting it right away at 3 a.m.

“I didn’t want to go to call while Laverne was walking around,” Mickey said.

It was on the third trip to Kwik Trip around 4 p.m. on Dec. 4, 2016, when Mickey made the call to authorities after he knew Ware was asleep.

“His mother was still in the house,” Mickey said. “There’s no telling what could have happened.”

Defense attorney Aneeq Ahmad asked Mickey if he had been truthful since there were issues with his testimony during Jones trial not matching what he previously had said. He also asked Mickey about his drug use.

Mickey said there had been more details that he has remembered over time about that night each time he has given a statement.

In addition, Dodge County Medical Examiner Patrick Schoebel and P. Douglas Kelley, formerly from the Fond du Lac County Medical’s Examiners office testified about Dixon’s autopsy.

Follow Terri Pederson on Twitter @tlp53916 or contact her at 920-356-6760.

Beaver Dam Daily Citizen reporter