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Couple Took In Woman Looking For Safe Place To Stay, But Then Allegedly Chained Her To A Bed, Raped Her And Hid Body In Freezer

Rebecca Elizabeth Dishman and Sean Finnegan are accused of brutally torturing Jennifer Gail Paxton before strangling her to death and dismembering her body in their Tennessee home.

By Jill Sederstrom
Rebecca Dishman Sean Finnegan

A Tennessee couple has been accused of brutally torturing a woman they had offered a place to stay, chaining her to a bed and repeatedly raping her before they strangled her to death.

Rebecca Elizabeth Dishman, 22, and Sean Finnegan, 52, are now facing charges of first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence in the death of Jennifer Gail Paxton, whose dismembered body was discovered in the couple’s freezer on Thursday, according to local station WATE.

Dishman and Finnegan allegedly lured Paxton to their home in December 2019 by promising her a safe place to stay, according to arrest warrants obtained by the station.

But authorities allege the couple instead held the 36-year-old against her will, chaining her to a bed, shackling her with a dog collar and binding her arms with zip ties, according to the warrants also obtained by Oak Ridge Today.

They allegedly used a baseball bat to beat her in the head and arms to subdue her and prevent her from trying to escape the grisly torture, authorities said.

The couple is accused of repeatedly raping her after she was incapacitated before strangling her to death.

Authorities said the couple then took the battered body and dismembered it, breaking ligaments and bones to fit it into a stand-up freezer, according to the warrants.

After disposing of the body, Dishman allegedly used “bleach and a Swiffer” to clean up the living room and bedroom to get rid of the blood and other evidence.

Authorities said she also cleaned the victim’s body with bleach in the shower in an attempt to get rid of evidence that may have been on it, according to the warrants.

When the couple realized there may be a police investigation, Finnegan allegedly removed the body from the freezer and hid it under his bed. Then he cleaned out the freezer in an attempt to destroy any possible evidence left behind.  

Oak Ridge Police said in a statement they first responded to the home on Wednesday evening after receiving information about a “possible homicide.”

After working through the night, the Oak Ridge Police SWAT team and members of the Judicial Crime Task force executed a search warrant at 4:26 a.m. the next day and discovered Paxton’s body.

Dishman and Finnegan were taken into custody and both allegedly admitted to their crimes after being questioned by authorities.

Dishman was arraigned Friday and given a $1 million bond.

Finnegan was arraigned in Anderson County court on Monday. His bond was also set at $1 million.

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