A Tennessee couple who allegedly promised a woman a place to stay, tortured, raped and strangled her before storing her mutilated body in a freezer, police said.
Sean Finnegan, 52, and girlfriend Rebecca Dishman, 22, were arrested Thursday at their Oak Ridge home after a search warrant was executed there and the remains of 36-year-old Jennifer Gail Paxton were found, WATE reports.
The couple lured Paxton into their residence by offering her a place to stay in December, but police said she was instead held against her will and beaten with a baseball bat. She was also restrained with a dog collar, chained to a bed and had her arms bound with zip ties, according to court documents obtained by the station.
Paxton was also repeatedly raped, as well as being denied food and medical care, before she was strangled and left to die in a freezer, WVLT reports.
Once Paxton was dead, Finnegan “physically mistreated [Paxton’s corpse] in such a way as to be shocking and offensive” by mutilating her body with a sharp instrument, cutting off a portion of at least one of her breasts and her nose, court documents show.
He also broke several of Paxton’s ligaments and bones to fit Paxton’s body in a stand-up freezer, where he kept her body before removing the woman’s frozen corpse and hiding it beneath his bed, investigators said.
Finnegan and Dishman, who are facing charges of first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping and related counts, both admitted to the allegations following their arrest, according to warrants cited by WATE.
Finnegan, who was also charged with aggravated rape, was arraigned Friday. A judge set his bail at $1 million.
Bond was also set at $1 million for Dishman. Both she and Finnegan are due back in court on Aug. 18, Oak Ridge Today reports.
Oak Ridge police responded to the couple’s home after getting a report of a homicide there. Paxton’s body was then found early Thursday as a search warrant was executed.
Dishman had used bleach and other cleaning products to remove blood and bodily fluids from a living room and bedroom floor, as well as in bathroom shower, where she tried to scrub Paxton’s body of evidence, warrants show.
An online fundraiser set up to offset Paxton’s funeral costs had eclipsed $500 as of early Tuesday.
“Jennifer was brutally murdered, and tortured at such a young age,” the website reads. “Nobody in the world deserves what happened to her. Her mother is not in any shape to pay for it all. Please find it in your hearts to help this beautiful woman and her family give her the send-off she deserves.”
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