By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer
COVINGTON - Aaron Dishon showed no emotion in his first court appearance since learning prosecutors will try to send him to death row for the rape and strangulation of a 13-year-old Independence girl.
Dishon, 21, acknowledged that he understood the charges against him and entered a plea of not guilty during Monday's arraignment in Kenton Circuit Court.
"It was hard to sit there and see him, but I was really glad to hear the sound of the shackles rattling around his wrists and ankles," said the victim's aunt, Jan Farmer. "He will pay for what he has done."
Dishon was indicted in June on first-degree rape and murder charges in the strangulation of Tiffany Rae Farmer.
Police discovered the eighth-grader's body under Dishon's bed, located in a second-floor apartment of his grandparents' Covington home.
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, detectives said Dishon told them he had consensual sex with Tiffany before killing her.
Extra security was called Monday when 19 of Tiffany's friends and family filled Judge Patricia Summe's courtroom for the arraignment. Charles Farmer was warned not to speak in the courtroom after an emotional outburst in a courthouse hallway.
The Farmer family became visibly upset when they were not allowed to wear lapel pins featuring Tiffany's picture inside the courtroom. The group was also left waiting 11/2 hours after Summe decided to call about a dozen cases ahead of Dishon's arraignment.
"Sitting through this arraignment was worse than the funeral," said Jan Farmer. "No one realizes the pain this whole ordeal has put us through."
She praised Summe for chastising the state crime lab for not promptly processing DNA evidence necessary for the case to proceed.
Summe called six additional months to complete a DNA test that takes three days unacceptable in a capital murder case. She asked that prosecutors relay her displeasure to state crime lab officials.
Newport attorney Michael Schulkens appeared in court to represent Dishon. Dishon had previously been represented in court by a public defender.
Schulkens said this is his first death penalty client, but that he once prosecuted a death penalty case as an assistant commonwealth's attorney in Campbell County.
Jan Farmer broke down in tears after the arraignment as she talked about Tiffany's upcoming birthday. She would have turned 14 next Monday.
"School starts up soon," said Jan Farmer. "She won't be going. She won't be getting her license. She won't be getting her job. She was going to start work at Kroger. She will miss out on life, and I hope (Dishon) does too."
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