A Charleston man told witnesses he shot a local woman to death because she was working with police and had given investigators evidence against him.
Marlon “Ice” Dixon, 37, of Park Avenue called police Thursday afternoon to arrange his surrender, said Charleston Lt. Steve Cooper, chief of detectives.
State Police and Charleston officers had been going door-to-door in neighborhoods on the West Side on Thursday afternoon in search of Dixon. They were working on Indiana Avenue when he arranged to meet them there, Cooper said.
Detectives secured an arrest warrant Thursday charging Dixon with the murder of Branda Basham, 22, of Charleston. He was arrested less than three hours later.
“He told us we’d been on his heels for days,” Cooper said. “He said he’d been hiding in car trunks and ‘safe houses.’”
Dixon was named a person of interest on Sunday and was wanted for questioning in connection Basham’s killing. Cooper said Thursday that detectives had information and evidence that led them to seek a murder charge against Dixon.
A passerby found Basham’s body Saturday morning along the railroad tracks near Breece Street on Charleston’s West Side. The woman was shot three times, twice in the torso and once in the head. Though a handgun was believed to be the weapon used, the lieutenant wouldn’t say if it had been recovered.
Basham’s murder was the fourth this year for the city and the second shooting death.
Members of the city’s street crimes unit were assisting detectives because of their knowledge of the victim. Basham, also known as “Mimi,” worked as a prostitute on the West Side. She also was a confidential informant working with police.
Basham made controlled buys from Dixon and provided evidence against him as part of an ongoing drug investigation, according to a criminal complaint filed in Kanawha Magistrate Court. She provided direct evidence that led to his arrest, detectives said.
Her funeral was Thursday in Princeton.
A woman told police she saw Dixon coming out of a house on Madison Street between 2:30 a.m. and 3 a.m. Saturday and asked him to walk with her across the tracks for protection.
She said he asked her if she’d seen Basham in the area and told her that Basham got him caught and was working with the police. She said his demeanor changed when he spoke of Basham and that she felt “cold chills run down her body,” according to the complaint.
Detectives searched the Madison Street home Saturday after Basham’s body was found and found another woman inside. She told police he had been at the house with her the night before but that he’d come and gone frequently, the complaint said.
Video surveillance from the house showed Dixon leaving and entering the home multiple times but also behaving in a suspicious manner. He left once carrying a bag, but returned without it and then wiped down the front door and the doorknob, according to detectives.
A chemical test performed on the door, which detectives removed from the house, showed blood. A pair of Dixon’s tennis shoes found at the house also tested positive for blood, the complaint said.
The woman told police he was “frantic” when he came back to the house and took off all of his clothes then asked her to wash them, which she did. She said he called after detectives searched the house and asked about his shoes then began yelling at her, “there is probably blood on them,” according to the complaint.
She told police Dixon had a gun earlier in the evening and that he later told her “Mimi was killed because she wore a wire and was working as an informant for the police,” the complaint said.
Another witness told street crimes detectives that Dixon was known to carry a 9-millimeter pistol. Detectives recovered 9-millimeter shell casings from the scene.
Basham’s phone records showed she and Dixon had been talking and texting before she was killed. The cellphone records showed Dixon was the last person to communicate with Basham.
Cooper named Dixon as a person of interest in the case on Sunday. He also was wanted on a heroin distribution charge.
Dixon got on Facebook earlier this week to express his displeasure with officers for searching the homes of his family and friends and apologized to them.
“Im letting fbook know they raided my whole families n friends houses, i personally want to apologize and as always the charleston police n the feds are harrassin and interrogating and without question making marlon dixon their prime suspect,” Dixon posted Sunday. “im guilty till proven innocent from start all bcus i just so happen to be in the vicinity of where the murder took place, where i reside on the westside, are u serious?
“Cpd give it a rest, find ur killer, u gt the wrong n----.”
Cooper said detectives had Dixon in mind as a person of interest in the murder from very early on in the investigation. He is the only suspect in the investigation.
“The fact that he has taunted law enforcement doesn’t add any fuel to the fire for us,” Cooper said. “What we’re concerned about is the safety of the public and bringing to justice a criminal who’s clearly dangerous.”
Dixon is well known to police. He has been arrested several times, most recently in 2009 when Dunbar police arrested him for fleeing. Charleston officers last arrested him in 2005 on malicious wounding, wanton endangerment and being a fugitive from justice charges.
Dixon was arraigned Thursday in Kanawha Magistrate Court before Magistrate Joe Shelton. He also was arraigned on a heroin distribution charge and a domestic battery charge. He is being held at South Central Regional Jail without bond.
Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at email@example.com or 304-348-4850.