ZANESVILLE, Ohio (AP) -- A naked woman wailing in pain on an eastern Ohio road was beaten and burned so badly that her skin was falling off but had enough strength to name at least two of her attackers, according to testimony from the driver who found her.
Mark Bretz of Newark testified Monday in the Muskingum County trial of one of three people charged in the case, tearfully telling jurors how he found and tried to help 29-year-old Celeste Fronsman in August 2012. Bretz said the Canton woman was so scorched that she stood on her own to climb onto a stretcher rather than endure the pain of being touched by the medics who responded to his 911 call.
Bretz was testifying at the trial of LaFonse Dixon, 34, of Canton. Dixon was charged with murder, kidnapping and arson and pleaded not guilty.
Two women who pleaded guilty in the case to avoid the death penalty have testified against Dixon, saying the trio took Fronsman from Canton to rural Muskingum County, where she was set on fire and abandoned. She died two days after Bretz found her on the road, bleeding and with a strap around her neck.
"She just throws herself on my truck, screaming, 'Help me, help me! They're trying to kill me!" Bretz said, according to the Zanesville Times Recorder.
When Bretz asked Fronsman who hurt her, she named "Fonse" and Katrina Culberson, one of the women charged, Bretz testified.
Dixon's defense team questioned why Bretz wrote down Culberson's name for investigators but not Dixon's. Bretz said he thought one name would be enough of a lead for investigators.
A defense attorney also asked how well Bretz was able to understand Fronsman, whom he described as being "totally petrified," moaning in pain and having trouble breathing. Bretz acknowledged he had trouble clearly understanding some of what Fronsman told him.
Jurors also heard testimony Monday from a state crime investigator about a match between Dixon's DNA and evidence on a roll of masking tape used to bind Fronsman's hands, The Repository in Canton reported.
Dixon could face the death penalty if convicted.
Culberson and the third defendant, Monica Washington, have not been sentenced.