Dixon enters plea, avoids retrial

Published 10:02 pm Monday, October 17, 2011

More than 14 months after the state Supreme Court overturned Roger Dixon’s conviction on charges of attempted murder and shooting into an occupied vehicle, the case has finally been closed.
According to sources Monday, Dixon entered a guilty plea just hours before a new trial was set to begin. Jury selection for the fall session of circuit court in Escambia County had already begun when the plea was entered.

In mid-2010, the Supreme Court ruled on an appeals case based on facts
presented that a juror didn’t tell the truth about a question during
voir dire. The plea entered allowed Dixon to avoid a jury trial during the current session.
An Escambia County jury convicted Dixon in April 2007 in connection
with a 2005 incident that left him facing charges of attempted murder
and shooting into an occupied vehicle driven by David Jackson.
According to testimony during the original trial, Dixon shot at
Jackson and Brad Cary in the early morning hours of May 14, 2005, at
Maxwell’s Quick Mart. Cary was in his vehicle, while Jackson was
outside of his truck.
Prosecutors contended that Dixon drove his truck in a circle around
Jackson and Cary while they were parked at the gas station, shot at
them at least four times and hit a gas pump as he drove off. Neither
Jackson nor Cary was injured in the incident.
But Dixon testified that his truck was parked farther away from the
two men, and that he did fire shots from a .22 caliber pistol, but
they were shot into the air.
He admitted that he hit and damaged the gas pump as he drove away.
Dixon said he was drunk that night from at least 10 shots of whiskey,
a dozen beers and a Xanax. Dixon said he drove away from the scene and
threw his pistol into the Escambia River.
Police officers testified they found shell casings in the area where
Jackson and Cary said they were shot but found none in the area where
Dixon said he was parked.
Defense attorney John Jernigan said in his closing statement that
those casings were not the type that Dixon normally shot, and a box
bearing that brand was not found in Dixon’s vehicle when police
searched it.
Dixon also said he could not have driven his vehicle in the manner
that prosecutors suggested when he did the shooting, saying that he
later tried to make the turn around the gas pump and was unable to do
Dixon and his family members testified during the trial that he was
such a good marksman he would not have missed Jackson if he had
actually been aiming for him. His brother testified that Dixon was
even a good shot when he was drunk.
Dixon was sentenced to 20 years on the attempted murder charge and 10
years on the charge of shooting into an occupied vehicle by Circuit
Judge Bert Rice chose to split the sentence. Records with the Alabama
Department of Corrections show he would have been eligible for release
in February 2012.
Paul Harden of Monroeville handled the appeals process and represented Dixon in the plea in circuit court Monday afternoon.

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