Baltimore man accused of fatally beating homeless man held without bail

A 19-year-old Baltimore man charged with beating a homeless man to death will remain in jail, a judge ordered Thursday.

Baltimore District Judge Martin D. Dorsey said Dion Dixon presents a risk to public safety and might not show up for trial as he ordered him held without bail.

Dixon faces first-degree murder, first-degree assault and weapons charges in the beating death of Randolph Cockrell, 67.

Police said Cockrell was sleeping on a front porch of a home on Oakmont Avenue in Northwest Baltimore Tuesday when Dixon dragged him off the porch and fatally beat him with a large piece of concrete.

Cockrell was found by police lying in an alley with severe trauma to his head, according to charging documents. His injuries and the blood on the concrete indicated Dixon struck him numerous times in the head, the documents said.

Dixon insists he is innocent of the charges, his public defender, Romel Showell, told the judge during Thursday’s bail review hearing.

Showell said he spoke at length with Dixon, who is “adamant” that he is innocent.

But in an interview with police, Dixon confessed to killing Cockrell, showering to remove the blood from his body and discarding his bloody clothes, according to charging documents.

Showell said Dixon has an 8-month-old daughter and he encouraged his client to “keep his eye on the prize” of seeing his daughter. Showell asked the judge to consider some level of bail, even though Dixon’s family might not be able to pay.

“I’m asking the court for a glimmer of hope,” Showell said.

An assistant state’s attorney noted that Dixon has a pending case for animal cruelty and has not taken his medication for anger management, making him an “extreme risk to public safety.”

In that case, from May, Dixon is accused of getting into an argument about a cell phone with his mother and then grabbing a kitchen knife and stabbing the family dog, a 4-year-old pit bull mix named Ladybug, according to charging documents.

The dog had surgery at Falls Road Animal Hospital and is expected to recover.

Police were later called back to the mother’s home, where Dixon had broken a glass door. Dixon told police that he had not been taking his medication because it makes him “feel dead inside.” He also told police: “I didn’t mean to do that to my dog,” according to the charging documents.

That case is scheduled for trial on Aug. 17.

A pretrial investigator said that Dixon, who has a 10th-grade education, has been treated for bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and has attempted suicide.

Dixon, who appeared in court on a video screen from jail, said little during Thursday’s brief hearing. He answered “yes, sir” to the judge’s questions about whether he understood his rights and the charges against him.

Dixon listed an address on East Eager Street in East Baltimore, but court records show he previously lived on Oakmont Avenue, the Northwest Baltimore street where Cockrell was killed and where Ladybug was stabbed.

pwood@baltsun.com

twitter.com/pwoodreporter

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