A state appeals court panel Tuesday rejected a woman’s contention that she should be re-sentenced in connection with the murder of a Cal Poly Pomona student who was driven into the mountains above Azusa, where her throat was slit.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal found that Markeisha Nicole Dixon was not eligible for re-sentencing as a result of changes in the law since she was convicted of first-degree murder for the August 2001 killing of 20-year-old Christina Burmeister of Cerritos.
Dixon and co-defendant Henry Arnold Singer both pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and were sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison.
Dixon’s husband at the time of the crime, James Winslow Dixon Jr., was sentenced in 2008 to death after being convicted of first-degree murder with two special circumstance allegations of murder during the commission of a robbery and a kidnapping. He was also convicted of raping two Cal Poly Pomona students in July 1996. His automatic appeal is still pending.
The appellate court justices noted that Markeisha Dixon admitted as part of her plea agreement that she was present when Burmeister was abducted in Pomona; that she saw her husband force the woman into her truck at gunpoint; that she got into the truck and drove it to a bank in Montclair, where money was withdrawn from an ATM; that she followed the truck in another car up to the mountains, where she saw her spouse approach Burmeister with a knife; and that he subsequently told her “everything was taken care of.”
“The record of conviction demonstrates defendant was a major participant who acted with reckless indifference to human life,” the panel noted in its nine-page ruling. “Defendant is ineligible for re-sentencing relief under the charges in the law regarding liability for felony murder since her 2007 conviction.”
A Superior Court judge had earlier rejected Markeisha Dixon’s bid for re-sentencing.
The day before her body was found, Burmeister had stopped to buy cigarettes in Pomona before being kidnapped near a Holt Avenue fraternity house. The young woman was found dead in her pickup truck, which was parked on San Gabriel Canyon Road, on Aug. 18, 2001.
DNA testing from a cigar butt on the floorboard beneath the driver’s seat of the truck subsequently matched James Dixon’s DNA, according to the appellate court panel’s ruling.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: