Documents: Christmas homicide victim ‘feared for life,’ skipped abusive ex-boyfriend’s trial
The woman who was shot in the head on Christmas morning and died this week was supposed to testify in her abusive ex-boyfriend’s trial, but vanished.
Houston Ketter was sentenced last month on attempted murder charges and two counts of assault.
Documents from Houston Ketter’s case file detail testimony from Sky Lemmons-Dixon, the woman who was shot and killed. They said she feared for her life and there were people she believed would hurt her if she testified.
The documents state Lemmons-Dixon told a crime victim advocate she was “extremely concerned for her own safety … she was afraid due to threats against her life as a result of her cooperation (towards the prosecution’s case against Ketter).”
Albany Police responded on Christmas Day to a home on State Street, where they found Lemmons-Dixon shot in the head. She died a few days later at Albany Medical Center. She was 23 years old.
The Times Union was the first to report this story.
It is not clear at this time if the shooting of Lemmons-Dixon is tied to her fear of testifying in Ketter’s trial.
Right now, Albany Police say don’t have an update on their investigation of Lemmons-Dixon’s shooting death, they said.
Documents show that Ketter physically abused Lemmons-Dixon on more than one occasion during their four-month relationship that started in 2022: “The defendant (Ketter( poured lighter fluid on SLD’s (Lemmons-Dixon) head, drenching her face, then proceeded to throw a lit blunt on her. However, the blunt went out before it hit her. The defendant then grabbed two lighters and clicked them together in another attempt to set her on fire.”
On another occasion, “The defendant heated up a pot for about an hour; he placed the pot on SLD’s arm, in between her legs, on her side, on her thigh, and on her buttocks; once the pot was no longer hot, he used the same pot to break SLD’s arm.”
Ketter was sentenced in December to 50 years to life for torturing and assaulting two women: Lemmons-Dixon and Kari Rouse.
Lemmons-Dixon did not show up to testify at Ketter’s trial. As for the other victim, Kari Rouse, she was severely injured after Ketter set her on fire.
Rouse spoke at his sentencing: “I have no hair on the back of my head. I have third-degree burns on 30% of my body. I could not realistically tell you how many surgeries, blood transfusions, days, and nights of horror I’ve overcome. I woke up hands and legs tied down to a surface, intubated almost two months later,” Rouse said at the time. “I could go on and relay the trauma he caused me but that would be giving a narcissist satisfaction. So many women in compromising situations in this city are killed to the punishment of no one. I’m their voice.”
The Albany County District Attorney’s Office released a statement Wednesday, Jan. 3 about Lemmons-Dixon’s death. It said:
“Members of the Albany County District Attorney’s Office are grieving alongside the loved ones of Sky Lemmons-Dixon following her untimely death earlier this week. As the death of Ms. Lemmons-Dixon remains under investigation, we will not comment on the specifics of this case, per our standard practice. However, in response to inquiries from the media concerning a previous case, we would like to clarify, that the office uses every available resource to ensure the safety of our victims and witnesses. Despite ongoing speculation concerning the circumstances surrounding Ms. Lemmons-Dixon’s death, we advise against drawing conclusions before the close of the investigation. We ask anyone with information to contact Albany Police Detectives at (518) 462-8039.”
The court documents from Ketter’s case file noted that Lemmons-Dixon had a protective order which remained in effect until Oct. 2, 2023. The protective order prevented Ketter from having any evidence whatsoever of Lemmons-Dixon’s cooperation with the prosecution.
On Oct. 14, after the protective order ended, Ketter made a phone call from jail: “SLD picked up the line and spoke with the defendant. The defendant stated, ‘Get low and be safe.’ The defendant’s comment can only be interpreted as a warning, given the backdrop of their domestic violence history. Though the defendant attempted to speak in code during his jail calls generally, it is apparent that he was telling SLD to stay under the radar. This is simply an example of the defendant exerting his control over SLD.”