Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Charges laid in the murder of intellectually impaired woman

Five people have been charged with the murder of Dorothy Dixon, 29, at her Hillcrest Avenue apartment in Alton, Illinois. Dixon, who was intellectually impaired, was six-months pregnant at the time. She has been described by her landlord, Steve Atkins, as "quiet and friendly."

Her death has been characterized by Lt. David Hayes, Alton police's chief of detectives, as "torturous," and possibly motivated by money. According to Hayes, Riley, one of those accused with Dixon's murder, had been taking her monthly Social Security check. Its also been reported by a neighbour that Riley would "punish Dixon by making her run naked" and that she would "pour boiling water and use a hot glue gun" on her.

On way of thinking about this act of violence is in terms of power. What type of power is being expressed here? It might be said that Riley's primary means of achieving personal power was by domination, by gaining power over others. According to the neighbour, Riley also dominated those around her by forcing them to "run her bath water, lay out her clothes and rub her feet at night until she fell asleep."

According to the philosopher Frederick Nietzsche, higher forms of power are not defined by their willingness to hurt others but by their willingness to enhance the feeling of power in others. Hurting others, he argues, is not a sign of having power but of lacking it; it is a sign not of strength, but of weakness.

RIP Dorothy Dixon.

An excerpt from

Former occupant Judy Woods, 43, was charged by the Madison County state attorney’s office last month with first-degree murder and intentional homicide of an unborn child in the death of Dorothy Dixon, 29, and her 6-month-old fetus.

On Monday, Alton police announced that five more tenants three of them minors have been charged. They are Michelle Riley, 35; LeShelle McBride, 15; Michael Elliot, 18; Benny Lee Wilson, 14; and a 12-year-old.

Each faces four counts of first-degree murder and charges of intentional homicide of Dixon’s unborn child, heinous battery, aggravated battery and unlawful restraint. LeShelle and Wilson, who are juveniles, are being charged as adults. Each is being held on $1 million bond.

The unnamed 12-year-old will face charges in juvenile court.