Thursday, May 8, 2003

Judge hears evidence in slaying of 13-year-old



By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[photo]
Tiffany Rae Farmer

COVINGTON - The family of an Independence girl found dead under an acquaintance's bed held a vigil on the steps of the Kenton County Justice Center Wednesday on the day the man accused of raping and strangling her appeared before a judge.

Kenton District Judge Frank Trusty referred the case to a grand jury after listening to testimony about how Aaron Dishon admitted to killing Tiffany Rae Farmer, 13, of Independence on April 27.

"Officers found the lifeless body under his bed," Covington police Detective Ted Edgington said during about 20 minutes of testimony. "He (Dishon) had hid the body by piling clothes around the bed so no one could see the naked body underneath."

Dishon, 21, was arrested on April 28 in an upstairs apartment at his grandparents' home on Crescent Avenue.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges of murder and second-degree rape and remained at the Kenton County jail Wednesday night in lieu of a $100,000 cash bond.

In court, Dishon occasionally glanced at Tiffany's parents, grandparents and nearly 20 additional family members and friends as Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Neil Middendorf presented evidence against Dishon during the preliminary hearing.

Tiffany was spending the weekend at the home of her mother, Julie Estes, who also lives on Crescent Avenue, when she reportedly ran away in the early hours of April 27. Tiffany lived with her father, Charles Farmer, at her paternal grandmother's home in Independence.

After Tiffany's body was found, Edgington said Dishon told detectives that he had consensual sex with Tiffany before killing her.

Dishon, according to Edgington's testimony, said he began to fight with Tiffany after she confronted him about his drug habit. He then strangled her, Edgington said. Dishon's brother, Tony Dishon, has said his grandparents gave Dishon a place to live as he tried to break his drug addiction.

Edgington said there was bruising around Tiffany's throat and scrapes on her hips. Detectives recovered Tiffany's clothes in a plastic bag found sitting on Dishon's kitchen floor.

"This hearing was hard to sit through," said Joyce Ruf, Tiffany's maternal grandmother, after emerging from the courtroom. "All we heard today was what Aaron Dishon told police. That's his side of the story. Tiffany isn't here to tell us really what happened."

Pat Farmer, Tiffany's paternal grandmother, watched from a seat in the gallery.

"Tiffany didn't run away," Pat Farmer told reporters after the hearing. "Aaron Dishon lured her to his apartment with the promise of taking care of a small puppy someone had given her earlier in the day."

Pat Farmer said Tiffany had gotten into an argument with her mother about the puppy. Pat Farmer said Estes wouldn't let the puppy in the house overnight, so Tiffany, in a moment of anger, said she would sit outside with the puppy all night. At some point, Pat Farmer said, Dishon offered to care for the dog.

Pat Farmer said that after the dog wouldn't leave with Dishon, Tiffany agreed to walk the dog to Dishon's apartment.

Edgington said during the hearing that investigators were still trying to collect evidence through the autopsy and tests to determine whether the sex was consensual or not consensual.

"Tiffany loved animals," said Pat Farmer. "She had a dog and two cats at my house. She first wanted to be a model, then she decided to pursue a career as a veterinarian."

Ruf said she hopes the community doesn't forget about Tiffany, an eighth-grader at Twenhofel Middle School, as the murder case works its way through the courts.

"Our poor little girls are being taken by these predators," Ruf said. "I don't know the answer, but we have to do a better job at protecting our children."

Dishon didn't have a history of violent crimes or sex crimes when he was arrested, according to documents filed in court.

E-mail jhannah@enquirer.com




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