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West Virginia Man Allegedly Confessed To Killing Wife Of One Month On Thanksgiving Argument

Zachary Dawson, 34, was arrested and charged with murder after he allegedly confessed to killing Marissa Dawson, his wife of one month, on Thanksgiving Day. 

By Christina Coulter
Killer Motive: What Drives People To Kill?

A West Virginia man allegedly confessed to killing his newlywed wife on Thanksgiving, telling police that he "blacked out" during an argument and "messed up" by beating her to death. 

Zachary Hess Dawson, 34, was charged on Nov. 25 with one count of murder in the death of Marissa Dawson, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by Law & Crime. The outlet reported that the deceased mother-of-five, who was also referred to as Marissa Mann-Bennett in the document, had married Dawson a month earlier on Oct. 24. 

A caller identifying themselves as a friend of the victim contacted the Alderson Police Department at approximately 9 a.m., according to the affidavit. They reported finding the woman unconscious inside the home and told police that her car, a pewter 2016 Infiniti QX80 truck, was missing from the driveway of the Maple Avenue home. 

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Mann-Bennett was pronounced dead at the scene when police arrived, with officers noting that "the deceased female had sustained major facial trauma causing the victim to be deceased," according to the affidavit.

Police observed blood on the floor throughout the basement of the home, as well as on the second floor. It appeared, the affidavit read, that Mann-Bennett was "thrown through the residence" and struck "what appeared to be her head on several items in the residence." 

A social media photo of Marissa Dawson, also referred to in court documents as Marissa Mann-Bennett

Bloodied clothing in her size was recovered, the affidavit said, which "appeared to show that victims clothes had been changed." 

"It should be noted at this time that it appeared the fight that took place in the residence continued throughout said residence over a period of time," read the document. 

Police also noted in a Facebook statement that Mann-Bennett's children were away at a friend's house at the time of the fatal beating. 

Several hours after the APD and the Greenbrier County Law Enforcement Department put out a BOLO ("Be on the Lookout") alert for Mann-Bennett's missing car, Dawson was apprehended in the vehicle on U.S. Route 219 in Lewisburg — his GPS was allegedly routing him to a nearby hotel. Per the affidavit, arresting officers noticed blood on Dawson's "clothing, necklace, hands and... the inside of his vehicle." 

After he was brought to a police facility in Lewisburg for questioning and read his Miranda Rights, Dawson confessed to his wife's murder. 

"[Dawson] stated that after striking his wife he blacked out and when he came to he knew that he had messed up," read the affidavit. He also admitted to changing Mann-Bennett's clothes after killing her. 

Even though Dawson confessed to the killing, Greenbrier County Prosecutor Patrick Via told MetroNews Monday, authorities still have a long investigation ahead. 

“Statements taken sometimes are subject to different interpretations later, so it’s critical that we proceed just as if we didn’t have a statement at all, quite frankly,” Via said.

Currently, Dawson is being held at the Southern Regional Jail without bail, according to jail records reviewed by Oxygen.com.

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