COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The sentencing phase of the murder trial for the man accused of killing a Warren native has begun.
Anthony Pardon, a registered sex-offender, was convicted last week of kidnapping, raping and murdering Rachael Anderson, in 2018.
Anderson’s body was discovered in her Columbus apartment, on the day after her 24th birthday.
In the sentencing phase, jurors will consider whether to recommend the death penalty for Pardon.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien began the proceedings by informing jurors of Pardon’s 1981 conviction for attempted murder, aggravated robbery and rape.
Isabella Dixon, one of Pardon’s attorneys, told jurors how Pardon’s upbringing and adult life contributed to his decision to kill Anderson.
“You’re going to hear that this man from an abused, dysfunctional, chaotic childhood went from that dysfunction at 16 and spent the rest of his life in prison,” she said.
O’Brien argued nothing should prevent the jury from recommending the death penalty.
“He very well understood, the evidence shows, what he was doing,” he said. “He was robbing, raping and hogtying Rachael Anderson on her birthday.”
The first witness to testify, for the defense, was one of Pardon’s elementary school teachers.
She told jurors that she tried to help Pardon with special programming, due to behavioral issues when he was young.
“When he was in the third grade, he had some disruptive problems in his classroom,” said Barbara Wolf Gessaman.
The teacher told jurors that the programming was helping Pardon, until he moved to a new school.
Pardon’s cousin also testified that he grew up in a home where his father would beat his mother.
More testimony is expected, on Tuesday afternoon.
Pardon may also make a statement, according to another one of his attorneys.
Several of Anderson’s family members and friends are at the courthouse, as they have been during the duration of the trial.
They have yet to publicly comment on the verdict.