John Futty The Columbus Dispatch
Anthony J. Pardon could be sentenced to death if he is convicted in the murder, rape and kidnapping of a 24-year-old aspiring funeral director.
A Franklin County grand jury on Thursday returned a death-penalty indictment against Pardon, 53, a convicted sex offender, in the slaying of Rachael Anderson, whose body was found Jan. 29 in a closet at her East Side apartment.
Pardon is eligible for the death penalty because he was previously convicted of attempted murder and because he is accused of causing Anderson‘s death while committing kidnapping, rape, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary, Prosecutor Ron O‘Brien said.
Anderson was last seen at about 8:30 p.m. Jan 28, her 24th birthday, he said. Co-workers at Shaw-Davis Funeral Homes, where Anderson was an apprentice, became concerned when she didn‘t show up for work the next day. Police responded to her apartment at the Cardinal Creek complex in the 3000 block of Allegheny Avenue. Her body was found bound and stuffed in a bedroom closet.
O‘Brien said investigators think Anderson returned home to find Pardon in her apartment.
The indictment indicates that a knife was used in the attack. O‘Brien said the death involved an assault with the knife and asphyxiation.
A sexual-assault kit was processed and produced a DNA profile that matched Pardon‘s DNA sample in a database of offenders, he said. SWAT officers arrested Pardon Feb. 8 in the South Linden area.
Anderson‘s debit card was used Jan. 28 and 29 throughout the city, O‘Brien said, and her vehicle was seen on surveillance video at many of the same locations.
Dispatch archives show that Pardon has a long, violent history and has spent much of his life incarcerated.
His criminal history begins in March 1979, at age 14, when he was temporarily committed to the Ohio Youth Commission for raping an 8-year-old girl.
In February 1980, when Pardon was 15, he was convicted of raping a 9-month-old boy, the son of his foster parents.
In November 1981, when he was 16, he kidnapped, robbed, raped and attempted to drown the 39-year-old mother of a girlfriend who let him into her Ontario Street home to use the phone.
That case was transferred to adult court, where, at 17, he was convicted of rape, attempted murder, and aggravated robbery. He served more than 24 years in prison and was released in 2006. Two years later, he was incarcerated in Georgia for two counts of failing to register as a sex offender and two counts of forgery. He was released in June 2017 and returned to Columbus.
The attack on Anderson occurred six months later.