Pardon trial moves to day 3 of testimony

Local News

On the third day of testimony, the lead detective who investigated the murder of Rachel Anderson is expected to spend most of the day on the witness stand.

Anderson, 24, was discovered murdered in her apartment, in 2018.

Anthony Pardon, a registered sex offender, is accused of raping, torturing and murdering her, before stealing her credit cards.

On Thursday, Columbus Police Detective Art Hughes was questioned about Anderson’s bank statements, specifically in the hours after she is believed to have been murdered.

“The debit card was continually being used after the death of Ms. Anderson,” Hughes testified.

Hughes also described several surveillance videos, from that time frame. In them, he said a man could be seen entering and exiting Anderson’s car, while also using her debit card at a number of Columbus stores.

The detective identified that individual as Anthony Sleet, a homeless man who is now dead.

The jury viewed a video of Sleets’ interrogation.

In it, he admits to being approached by a stranger before using what prosecutors say was Anderson’s card at the stores and several ATMs.

“I never met this guy before in my life, officer,” he can be heard telling Hughes. “That’s the honest to God truth.”

Sleets stated that the man offered him a place to stay, if he used the card to obtain cash and a number of other items.

“I think all together that night, I bought me some cigarettes and stuff,” Skeets said. “I may have gotten 400 and something dollars.”

Sleets, who never identified Pardon as the man who gave him Anderson’s card, said he was unaware that his actions could be connected to a murder.

“This is the honest to God truth, if I had any idea that something that gruesome was going down, I’m sure I would’ve had no part of it,” he said.

Franklin County prosecutor Ron O’Brien has said surveillance footage, cell phone records and DNA evidence will prove Pardon killed Anderson.

One of Pardon’s attorneys, Larry Thomas, told NBC4 that his client is innocent.

“Our theory all along is someone else did it,” he said.

In his opening argument, Thomas encouraged jurors to keep an open mind when weighing all of the evidence.

“You can not be influenced by sympathy,” Thomas said. “You see what happened out here and everybody knows this is a human being. You can’t base your decision on how you view the evidence because of what happened to her.” 

Pardon has pleaded not guilty to charges including aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, and kidnapping. If convicted, some specifications on those charges are eligible for a death sentence

Pardon had previously served 24 years in prison for an aggravated robbery, rape, and attempted murder conviction in 1982.

His trial is expected to last into next week.

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