Man Convicted of Setting Car on Fire with Victim in Trunk in Historic Cemetery

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April 17, 2023

Martin Dixon of North Charleston was convicted of Attempted Murder and Kidnapping after a Richland County jury found him guilty following a four (4) day trial.

The Fifth Circuit Solicitor’s Office called Martin Dixon to trial on April 3, 2023 for an incident that occurred in August of 2019.  The State, represented by First Assistant Solicitor Dale Scott and Assistant Solicitor Walt Whitmire presented evidence that Martin Dixon and a female companion had requested that the victim drive them from their home in North Charleston to Columbia to seek housing.  According to the victim, the Defendant began arguing with him regarding money the victim supposedly owed the defendant.  Defendant Dixon used a tire iron to strike the victim in the head and then forced him into the trunk of his own car.  Dixon then drove the car to Elmwood Cemetery where he attempted to set the car on fire.  He did this by lighting the interior of the car on fire and placing a burning rag into the opening of the gas tank.  Dixon and his female companion then fled the cemetery on foot.  Unbeknownst to Dixon, the vehicle never burned.

The next morning, a landscaper saw the abandoned car with obvious signs of arson and appearing to shake.  He called the Columbia Police Department and they found the victim unconscious, locked in the trunk, but still alive.  Martin Dixon was eventually captured by law enforcement in Hickory, North Carolina.  The trial concluded on April 6, 2023 after the jury deliberated for about an hour and a half.  Judge Clifton Newman sentenced Dixon to 23 years in the South Carolina Department of Corrections.

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