Tabetha Reddix wore a T-shirt depicted her mother as she approached the Butler County courtroom Thursday for the arraignment of the man accused of killing Constance “Connie” Reddix.
She had to pause and kneel down before opening the door.
“I felt like I was going to pass out,” she said.
But Tabetha Reddix collected herself and walked in with friends and family all wearing shirts that said “#JusticeForConnie.”
Darnell Dollar, 33, with a last known address of Gordon Smith Boulevard in Hamilton, was indicted for murder and kidnapping strangulation death of the 61-year-old Hamilton woman found dead in a vehicle in a car lot in Middletown.
Middletown detectives say he confessed to the homicide in an interview with detectives. Dollar is being held in lieu of a $1 million bond.
He pleaded not guilty, and Judge Jennifer McElfresh set a pretrial hearing May 11.
On March 14, Connie Reddix was discovered by police in a 2007 Chevrolet Equinox near Hanover Avenue and South Verity Parkway, but the assault apparently began the night before, according to police and 911 callers.
Police said she was found dead inside an SUV in the parking lot of Mid-Western Auto Sales on South Verity Parkway. Records indicate she was first assaulted behind Cincinnati State in downtown Middletown.
The Butler County Coroner’s Office determined Connie Reddix died from strangulation.
When Dollar was questioned by detectives in the police station, he told them he hadn’t seen Connie Reddix in two months. Then he said while he and Connie Reddix were at The Gathering, a church community in downtown Middletown, he got angry because she was talking to another man there, Middletown Detective Kristi Hughes testified at a preliminary hearing last month.
Dollar has a previous conviction for two counts of felonious assault involving two women and was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2011.
Tabetha Reddix said after Thursday’s hearing it was difficult seeing the man who killed her mother “with his bare hands. He strangled her to death. He beat her.”
She said the family had to say goodbye to a big photo of Connie Reddix instead of her body, because of the injuries.
“I felt like I was robbed from saying goodbye to my Mom,” Tabetha Reddix said.
Connie Reddix was a “kid at heart” and did not judge people, the family said.
When Tabetha Reddix found out her mother was seeing Dollar, and she researched his criminal history and said she tried to warn her mother about his violent past.
But it was too late, she said.