Tennessee Couple Stored Murdered Woman’s Mutilated Body In Freezer, Police Say

The suspects allegedly admitted to luring the victim with the promise of a place to stay.

August 13, 2020

Sean Finnegan and Rebecca Elizabeth Dishman [Anderson County Sheriff's Office]

Sean Finnegan and Rebecca Elizabeth Dishman [Anderson County Sheriff's Office]

By: Aaron Rasmussen

Disturbing details have emerged in the case of a Tennessee woman whose mutilated body was allegedly stored in a freezer after her murder last winter.

On Aug. 5, law enforcement officials executed search warrants on the Oak Ridge home of Sean Finnegan, 52, and his girlfriend, Rebecca Elizabeth Dishman, 22, Johnson City’s WJHL-TV reported.

According to the warrants, the couple allegedly lured Jennifer Gail Paxton, 36, into their home in late December 2019 by promising her a place to stay.

Authorities claim in the warrants that at some point Finnegan and Dishman restrained Paxton with plastic cable ties, chains and a dog collar. The pair allegedly struck the victim with a baseball bat, sexually assaulted her multiple times and then strangled her.

After Paxton was dead, Finnegan “physically mistreated [the victim’s body] in such a way as to be shocking and offensive,” court documents show.

Finnegan also broke some of the victim’s ligaments and bones in order to be able to stuff her mutilated body into a stand-up freezer, investigators said.

Shortly before the recent police investigation, the arrest warrants state, the two suspects tried to use bleach and other cleaning products in the bedroom, living room and shower to get rid of blood and other incriminating evidence. Finnegan placed the victim’s body under a bed while he cleaned up the freezer, authorities said.

The pair allegedly admitted to the gruesome details after police read them their Miranda rights, Knoxville’s WVLT-TV reported.

An eyewitness said Finnegan “was just staring” and “had no expression” when investigators took the accused killer into custody.

“There was no anger, no [sadness], no happiness,” Mahogany Pekoc told WJHL-TV, calling the situation “really freaky.”

Another neighbor recalled the time he knocked on Finnegan’s door to check on a missing package.

“He came to the door…those eyes, just like a wild animal,” George Royster told the station. “And he cursed me, and I said, ‘…I don’t want anything to do with that guy.’ And I was afraid of him from then on.”

According to Anderson County Sheriff’s Department jail records, Finnegan and Dishman are both being held on $1 million bond and each faces charges of first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated rape, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.

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