After nearly three hours of deliberation Thursday, a jury found Calvin B. Dixson, 37, guilty of aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder in the shooting death of Lisa Stowers and the shooting of her daughter, Tyeesha Snowden.
Dixson, who did not take the stand during the trial, is to be sentenced this morning in Seneca County Common Pleas Court Judge Steve Shuff's courtroom. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole. Shuff also could sentence Dixson to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 or 30 years.
"This was a tragic case. I'm very happy we were able to get guilty verdicts on both counts," Seneca County Prosecutor Derek DeVine said following announcement of the verdict Thursday afternoon.
PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE
Calvin Dixson leaves Seneca County Common Pleas Court Judge Steve Shuff’s courtroom in handcuffs Thursday after he was found guilty of aggravated murder, a special felony, and attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony.
Stowers' boyfriend, Alex Walker, said he, too, was happy with the verdict.
"She was a beautiful woman and didn't hurt nobody," he said. DeVine gave credit to the Fostoria Police Department and to Detective Gabe Wedge for Dixson's arrest and conviction.
Dixson was arrested July 29 in Cleveland, the day after he shot and killed Stowers, 50, of Springfield, and shot and seriously injured Snowden, 36, of Fostoria, in a vehicle at a 200-block Bannister Street residence. Both women received multiple gunshot wounds.
Snowden testified during the trial that Dixson, her estranged boyfriend, was the man who opened fire on her and her mother as they were sitting in a vehicle in the driveway. Snowden's sister, Danielle Stowers, who had been in the vehicle but left it just before the shooting, also testified this week and identified the man who approached the white Pontiac as Dixson.
Dixson's attorney, Dean Henry, told the jury Thursday in his closing argument that the evidence against Dixson was not overwhelming as the state had claimed. A gun was never found, there was no evidence at the crime scene linking Dixson to the murder and the 9 mm rounds that were recovered from the scene and from Stowers and Snowden never were fingerprinted. Henry also told the jury that the state was asking them to infer that one of two black males seen buying 9 mm rounds on surveillance video from Gander Mountain, an outdoors store, just days before the shooting was Dixson. Henry said there was no direct evidence that one of the males seen in the video was Dixson or that the bullets purchased were those used in the shooting.
"You cannot let a guess determine the guilt or innocence of a man charged with the most heinous crime the state puts on the books," Henry told the jury.
He also said Snowden led the jury to believe Dixson, whom she had a protection order issued against in December 2012, was controlling and continued to stalk her. Snowden, however, went on a romantic trip with Dixson at the beginning of July, he said.
Henry also cited inconsistencies in clothing descriptions from three witnesses and said one of those witnesses, next-door neighbor Robin Palmer, told police twice that she did not recognize the suspect as Dixson. Monday, she told the jury the man who approached the Bannister Street residence was Dixson.
Henry said Thursday that Dixson will appeal the case. He said at least one issue arose during the trial, which involved the admission of text messages sent between Dixson and Snowden.