Supreme Court reinstates guilty verdict in 1993 murder conviction

Archie Dixon / Ohio Department of Corrections

Concluding that police officers had not violated his Miranda rights, the U.S. Supreme Court voted to reinstate the murder conviction against Archie Dixon who was convicted of murdering his friend and former roommate, Christopher Hammer, according to Ohio Attorney General, Mike DeWine. DeWine appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court after a lower court overturned the conviction.

Dixon was convicted in 1994 of murdering Hammer. According to police, in September of 1993, Dixon and an accomplice beat Hammer and transported him to Sylvania Twp. where they buried him alive. Hammer was allowed to smoke a last cigarette and pray before he was placed in the grave and buried alive.

Dixon and his accomplice wanted to steal Hammer's identity to cash in on an insurance settlement. Dixon later forged Hammer's signature on the title to Hammer's car which led to his arrest on forgery charges. In the course of questioning Hammer about the forgery, police questioned him about the murder He was not read his Miranda rights before this first interview. Dixon admitted to forging the title, but not to murder. In an interview several days later, Dixon indicated he'd talked to an attorney and wanted to confess to the murder. Dixon was read his Miranda rights before he confessed to murder.

Dixon was sentenced to death for aggravated murder, kidnapping, and forgery. He appealed the conviction, claiming that he was not informed of his rights when he confessed to murder. The conviction was upheld in 2004 by the Ohio Supreme Court, but was reversed in December 2010 by the Cincinnati-based Sixth District Court of Appeals. Mike DeWine, who became Ohio's Attorney General in January, 2011, appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In its unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that, "Dixon received Miranda warnings before confessing. . .and there is no evidence that any of Dixon's statements was the product of actual coercion."

Dixon is incarcerated on Death Row at the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown.

"Mr. Dixon committed a gruesome murder, he confessed, and the Ohio courts gave him a fair trial," said Attorney General DeWine. "The Supreme Court agreed with our position and restored the jury's guilty verdicts in this case."