Man accused of raping, killing Columbus woman arraigned on death penalty charges

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The registered sex offender accused of raping, torturing and murdering an aspiring funeral director was formally arraigned in Franklin County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday.

Anthony Pardon stood quietly before a judge as prosecutors detailed the nine-count indictment against him.

It includes charges of aggravated murder, aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery and kidnapping, with specifications that could lead to Pardon receiving a death sentence.

He entered a not guilty plea on all of the charges.

According to police, Pardon killed Rachael Anderson in her east Columbus apartment and left her body in a closet.

Her remains were discovered Jan. 29, when co-workers said she did not show up for work.

Investigators said Pardon was linked to the crime by DNA evidence.

Court documents indicate Anderson’s cause of death was asphyxiation or suffocation.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said Pardon and Anderson were strangers, and the suspect laid in wait for the young woman, inside her home.

“We believe he was in the apartment belonging to the victim when she arrived home and then attacked her when she entered her own apartment,” he explained.

According to court documents, Pardon previously served 24 years in prison for an aggravated robbery, rape and attempted murder conviction from 1982.

Given Pardon’s past, Anderson’s close friend said this murder never should have happened.

“He shouldn’t have been let out of jail in the first place,” said Tina Kennedy. “He should have never had the chance to do this again.”

At the time of her death, Anderson was an aspiring funeral director nearing the end of her apprenticeship with Shaw-Davis Funeral Homes.

Colleagues said she was about to become the business’ first funeral director, not from the Shaw family.

Her body was discovered one day after her 24th birthday.