Sean Finnegan, one of two defendants in a series of gruesome alleged crimes in Oak Ridge in December 2019, including murder, rape, and kidnapping, is pictured above in a mugshot from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.

Note: This story was last updated at 2:15 p.m.

CLINTON—A decision could be announced in January about whether to seek the death penalty for two Oak Ridge defendants charged with three counts of first-degree murder each in the gruesome kidnapping, rape, and murder of a 36-year-old woman.

Sean Finnegan, one of two defendants in a series of gruesome alleged crimes in Oak Ridge in December 2019, including murder, rape, and kidnapping, is pictured above in a mugshot from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.

 

Rebecca Dishman, one of two defendants in a series of gruesome alleged crimes in Oak Ridge in December 2019, including murder, rape, and kidnapping, is pictured above in a mugshot from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.

 

CLINTON—A decision could be announced in January about whether to seek the death penalty for two Oak Ridge defendants charged with three counts of first-degree murder each in the gruesome kidnapping, rape, and murder of a 36-year-old woman.

The victim, Jennifer Gail Paxton, was found during a search of a home on East Fairview Road on August 5, 2020, after the Oak Ridge Police Department responded to a report of a possible homicide. Paxton had allegedly been lured to the home with the promise of a place to stay but, once there, became the victim of a series of gruesome crimes, according to arrest warrants filed by Oak Ridge Police Department Sergeant Marvell Moore. She was allegedly kidnapped, tortured, raped, strangled, and her body stuffed into a freezer, according to the warrants.

The man and woman charged in Paxton’s death are Sean Shannon Finnegan, 54, and Rebecca Elizabeth Dishman, 23. They have both been charged with three counts of first-degree murder and 10 other charges, including aggravated rape and aggravated kidnapping. A prosecutor told a judge last year that the two could face the death penalty for the “especially heinous” murder. Both defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Finnegan and Dishman are charged in a separate case with aggravated rape of a child. A conviction in that case would result in an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole, Anthony Craighead, deputy district attorney general in the Seventh Judicial District in Anderson County, told Judge Steven Sword.

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