Mar 24, 2008



Dorothy Dixon ate what she could forage from the refrigerator upstairs, where housemates used her for target practice with BBs, burned her with a glue gun and doused her with scalding liquid that peeled away her skin.

They torched what few clothes she had, so she walked around naked. They often pummeled her with an aluminum bat or metal handle.

Dixon -- six months pregnant -- died after weeks of abuse. Police have charged two adults, three teenagers and a 12-year-old boy with murder in the case that has repulsed many in this Mississippi River town.

"This is heartbreaking," police Lt. David Hayes said. "It was almost as though they were making fun of the abuse they were administering. This woman was almost like living in a prison."

Investigators put much of the blame on Michelle Riley, 35, who they said befriended Dixon but pocketed monthly Social Security checks she got because of her developmental delays.

Dixon saw little, if any, of the money, Hayes said. For months she weathered the torment to keep a roof over her head and that of her year-old son, who weighed just 15 pounds when taken into state custody after his mom's death.

"I've never seen an almost conspiratorial effort by a group of people to continuously torture someone until she finally died, then not really show any remorse," Hayes said. "It was just a slow, torturous, tragic way to die. I highly doubt Dorothy Dixon even knew she was dying."

Riley, 43-year-old Judy Woods and three teenagers, including Riley's 15-year-old daughter, LeShelle McBride, are charged with first-degree murder, aggravated and heinous battery, intentional homicide of an unborn child, and unlawful restraint. Riley's 12-year-old son is charged as a juvenile. (Source)


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