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Son on trial in mother’s brutal death

Clark County man had repeated issues with family, law enforcement.


Nearly two years after a Moorefield Twp. woman was found beaten to death in her cellar, her son now stands trial for her murder.

Ryan Dillon, 26, is charged with aggravated murder, two additional counts of murder, tampering with evidence and receiving stolen property for May 2012 death of his mother, 59-year-old Vicky Burks.

During opening statements Monday, Clark County Prosecutor Andy Wilson revealed Burks’ body was found severely bludgeoned at the bottom of the stairs inside the cellar of her home on Middle-Urbana Road. While detectives never recovered the object she was struck with, Wilson said they believe it was a tee-ball bat commonly kept in the home’s mudroom and still missing.

She was struck several times with the object while sitting at her kitchen table. The beating caused her to fall backward in her chair, where she was attacked while on the floor. The killer cleaned up the blood after dumping Burks’ body in the cellar. The cellar door was then covered with a litter box, ladder and paint cans, Wilson said.

Dillon has an extensive criminal history, including drug charges. His mother and stepfather had thrown him out of the house several times, Wilson said, but his mother always took him back. Prior to her death, Burks had written a statement to the courts indicating her son had threatened to kill her and his stepfather if he went back to jail. The day of the attack, Wilson said computer files indicate Dillon discovered he had a warrant for his arrest.

“The tragedy of this situation is no matter how much she loved him, no matter how much she refused to turn her back on him, her love could not overcome his hatred, his anger and his rage toward her,” Wilson said.

Within 24 hours of Burks’ body being discovered by Clark County Sheriff’s detectives, who were called the home when her husband found his truck and wife missing, the truck was located in Wisconsin. Dillon was found walking nearby and was arrested and eventually extradited to Ohio.

He has denied killing his mother and said he was out of town the day she was murdered. His defense attorney, Shawn Murphy, argued there is no evidence directly tying his client to the death, adding that while the scene was bloody, no DNA was found on Dillon or in the truck.

“There’s not going to be anyone who is going to sit on that witness stand and say Ryan killed his mother,” Murphy said.

Testimony from the prosecution’s witnesses continues Tuesday. Dillon remains in the Clark County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bond.


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