Two arrested for murder and torture of woman

Sean Finnegan, 52 and Rebecca Elizabeth Dishman, 22, both of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. [Image credit: Anderson County Sheriff's Office]

Some time in December 2019 52-year-old Sean Finnegan and 22-year-old Rebecca Dishman are said to have lured 36-year-old Jennifer Gail Paxton to their home under the pretense of giving her somewhere to stay.


Once there, however, police say that she was held against her will, beaten with a baseball bat, bound to a bed with zip ties, shackled with a dog collar, and repeatedly raped.  Once incapacitated, she was then strangled with a ligature and left to die.


According to Oak Ridge Today, the crimes are estimated to have occurred "on or after December 23, 2019" according to the affidavits.


After her death, the investigators with the Oak Ridge Police Department Criminal Investigation Division and the District Attorney General’s Office stated that both Finnegan and Dishman “physically mistreated a corpse in such a way as to be shocking and offensive.”


For a period of time Paxton's remains are said to have been stored in an stand-up freezer.  As the couple tried to prepare for a police investigation, they are said to have removed the body from the freezer and placed it under a bed before beginning to clean the freezer and home with “bleach and a swiffer” to rid the body, home, and freezer of evidence.


On the evening of Wednesday, August 5th, police responded to a call of a possible homicide at their residence.  A search warrant was executed in the early morning hours of Thursday which resulted in the discovery of Paxton's body.


WATE spoke with some of the neighbors as the police were continuing their investigation.  One, who claimed to be a friend with Dishman described Finnegan as "just creepy."  Another neighbor, George Royster told the station, "I went over there and knocked on the door. He came to the door … those eyes, it was like a wild animal. He cursed me … I said, I don’t want nothing to do with that guy. I was afraid of him from then on.”


Finnegan and Dishman are both being held at the Anderson County Detention Facility in lieu of $1 million bond.  They have both also been assigned public defenders after reporting no income. Dishman reported her only asset is a vehicle.


Finnegan is being charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated rape, first-degree murder and tampering with evidence.


Dishman has been charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual battery, first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse.


They are both scheduled to be back in Anderson County General Sessions Court on August 18th.


The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact the Oak Ridge Police Department at (865) 425-4399. Crime tips can also be submitted online at Information can be given anonymously.