Hey, sometimes we get things wrong, we're not a big news organization, we're a small staff with limited resources and sometimes we mess up.
A few weeks ago, we released Episode one, any one in which we welcome Sun Sentinel reporter Mark Freeman to join us and help tell the story since he previously covered it so well for the paper he works for. When the episode dropped, the Sun Sentinel decided to do a story about our coverage and specifically about our interview with the killer's mom, Denise Pena. Now, if you haven't heard that episode number 181, you may want to go back and listen to it first so that you have some context.
And I do want to also say that we were solely responsible for the tone and the direction of the show. Sun-Sentinel just helped us out with an interview and they had no idea which way it was going. But after the episode was released, we received an email from a very distraught family member, one of the killer's victims. Her name is Kim Dixon. And rather than read you what she said, we decided to invite her on for a supplementary bonus interview, which we're making available on the regular feed to all subscribers.
Now, normally something like this would be on our plus platform, but I think it's important that we say, hey, we got this one wrong. It wasn't our first mistake, and I'm sure, unfortunately, it won't be our last. So here's our conversation with Kim Dixon, the sister of Wayne Dixon, who, along with his partner, Freddy Sanchez, was brutally murdered in their home on that horrible Thursday of November 19th, 2015.
So thank you for joining us.
I appreciate it. We had a little bit of a conversation via email before this, and you weren't very happy with some of the way that I covered the story that we told recently. And I'd like to go ahead and give you the opportunity to tell us why and explain what you said in that email, OK?
I mean, first of all, like, I probably would never have done this podcast if you had contacted me. And I don't know, I assume you attempted when you were first creating this. This is just not something I would normally do. I I got an email from a friend of my brother's telling me about the article in the Sun-Sentinel, which I read, and and, you know, follow the link to the podcast and listen to it. And honestly, I was angry.
I was angry at the reporters. I was angry at you. I felt as though his mother, Denise Turnour, was the only one that was giving a point of view as to what had happened. So that's basically why I tried to contact everybody. And when you offered me an opportunity to speak, that's why I accepted, because I don't feel that anybody ever spoke for my brother or for Freddie.
And that's a very important point. We did tell the story in such a way where we basically laid out the entire horrible event that day or series of events.
And you were very accurate in that. Yes, that I felt was accurate.
We did we did very much try to reach members of the family, friends, anyone that was close to the case. I'm not quite sure if we even knew about you or were able to try to reach out to you. But we did make that attempt. And after months of trying, I think the only person willing to come forward was Zachary's mother. And I could see why that would be. I could see why that would be seen as a one sided story.
I did. So I yeah.
Yeah, I moved. And I know my name and address and all of that and other people were in the court records that I didn't know if you use that. I moved actually from Cleveland, Ohio, back here to Florida last June. So I assumed my male would never have been forwarded and that kind of thing.
Well, I do want to say right up front that I'm very, very, very sorry for your loss and for, again, there's no excuse for the horrible crimes that Zachary Pena inflicted upon it on the world. And your brother and Freddie were innocent victims in all of this. They were just living their lives, like you said. Why don't you go ahead and tell us a little bit more about them? Because we don't really know them that well.
OK. Like I said, I just moved back to Florida. I'd always had a dream to retire and come back here to be closer to him. You know, now I'm here and he isn't. Wayne was 58 when he was killed. I was 56. So we're very close in age. We grew up together. And since about the year 2000, our parents and our oldest brother had all been gone. They'd all passed away. So it was just, you know, we were best friends.
We visited we spoke on the phone at least a couple of times a week. I had last seen him in June of 2015. So I was here for a visit. You know, Wayne and Freddie were were great guys. They were kind. They were generous. They were funny. They both loved their families very, very much. Freddie was from Venezuela and he worked very, very hard here in the United States, as did when they had a floral business together out of their home, when they had a painting business, Freddie had a cleaning business and all they did was work.
Freddie constantly sent money back to his family in Venezuela and. You know, when he was just the ultimate big brother, he my dad lived with him until he died in nineteen ninety nine.
My older brother Tom died a number of years ago. He had a six year old daughter. They live here in South Florida. And Wayne helped my sister in law raise my niece. He would do anything for them. He would do anything for me. They were just they were kind. They were generous. There was then and there Wayne had lived in his home for about 20 years. And as you said in the podcast, that was a cul de sac and it was a short little street with a cul de sac.
And he knew everybody. He was out walking his dog every evening and spoke to any neighbor that was outside. They used to kill him and call him the mayor of Chickasaw, you know, everything that was going on.
But why do you think they were targeted specifically? I think and there was a neighbor that the police interviewed that lived across the street and he spoke to Wayne less than 10 minutes, maybe five minutes before all this happened, when was walking the dog. And he stopped to chat with the neighbor and then they both went in their houses. I think that Penha was already on the street walking and then it was dark. And I think he watched Wayne go into his house.
So I think that drew his attention and I think he saw their new big black SUV and I think he wanted it. And that the only reason there was no evidence, anything that said he knew he knew them. I don't believe he did. I think it was just random. He saw the car. He saw him walking and said, that's the car I love. And it was if I'm trying to picture this in my head, just from the OK from the story.
But the house where the were Penner was staying wasn't exactly it wasn't on that street. The in other words, they weren't neighbors that would see each other every day. It was on sort of the other side. Right. Is that is that correct.
Well when you when you came down when lived on Chickasaw Circle, the main road into the little community was called Chickasaw Road, I believe when you came down that road, it kind of dead ended. It was gravel. And then it became a field right before that dead end was Chickasaw Circle. So you would turn right and go down this street. And from what I understand and so I kind of know where Penny's er lived, it was a big abandoned field with some trees and bushes and and her complex was directly across that field.
So they weren't I mean, I don't know what the distance was half a mile. I mean I'm just guessing I had no idea. So they were not in the same neighborhood, the streets didn't intersect. He walked through a field and came upon the first street, I assume, which was Main Street, and started walking down that. Tell me what it is that specifically, just so that our listeners understand what really made you upset about the interview we did with his mother?
A lot of things. She. Kissed her, telling the story of what happened. I think he was angry. And. Just was angry and just walked out and came upon these people and wanted this car and all of that, see this whole story about he was on some kind of a psychotic episode. I found that hard to believe. And she even she blamed the prosecutors. That was the first thing that got me the headline or the title of the article in the sense that they showed all the gory details.
And she is listening to her interview with you. She made it sound like the prosecution should have. I don't know, enabled this insanity defense. That wasn't their job, their job. They didn't think he was insane. Their job was to prove that he murdered Wayne and Freddie. And I thought they did an outstanding job laying out the details.
What do you think about in general, the insanity defense? Do you think there should be an insanity defense? My understanding is that it would mean that a person did not know what they were doing and did not know that it was from. I mean, just like layperson's understanding of what it means in this case, I think he knew what he did was wrong and he knew what he was doing. In general, I think it's. But in general, I think it depends on the case, I guess I honestly never thought much about it before.
I mean, if you're not involved in this because it's not personal. I would I mean, I never really thought about it before. But I don't think that this case. Well, his mother did seem to. Really paint him as as a good boy and a victim and and I could definitely see why that would be infuriating.
Well, that was absolutely infuriating. I do realize he had some mental illness issues. But that is not insanity. Specifically, it's not insanity defined by the legal system, right? I mean, there are thousands, hundreds of thousands of people that have mental illness issues, bipolar anxiety, depression. They do not do what he did. So what they talked about at the trial was being bipolar, I don't know, there were a whole litany of of things, but none of those.
Mean that you can just go out and do what he did, yeah, it seems to be often an excuse for horrible violent behavior and it actually seems to make stigmatize people with sort of the same diseases that don't do these horrible things. Right, and there are many people that have similar. Mental illnesses that that he, I guess, had, and they've never done this, they live their lives, they're medicated if need be, and they're productive members of society.
That's that's what I mean, I don't think he was psychotic and on some journey of. I don't know, whatever he was a God or something. Oh, and then she spoke also about. Something about he felt he was an avatar in a video game that was never, never brought up as a trial. I have no idea where that came from. And for that to be said now makes absolutely no sense to me. To me, it seems like some kind of a manufactured story after the fact that was never, never brought up at the trial.
So I don't know where that came from. And she said the jury was never given the definition of insanity. I heard it multiple times with the jury, I think during jury selection, during the trial, at the end of the trial, you know, and she said they focused on the gory details where he stabbed my brother well, 18 times and he stabbed Freddy 14 times. I don't think. That's too much to be talked about at the trial.
I don't know, she she said there were a lot of whatever she called the actress in presenting the case, I don't know, and they weren't appropriate. I don't know what that even means. I don't believe that he walked to my brother's home walking down the street saying, I'm going to kill somebody. I think he walked down the street wanting the car. And got more angry when he said no. And of course, when she said he wasn't a bad kid, he was always a good kid.
He's never been violent. Obviously, that infuriated me. I mean, obviously. He is a bad kid and he has been violent. Yeah, and the behavior itself of. Hijacking a car and stabbing someone or two people that many times for that car. It doesn't sound like someone that's. Particularly sane, and the question is, because we talk about these sort of stories all the time, we're always trying to figure out and examine why someone would do something so, so awful to another human being.
Well, I mean, obviously, whoever does something like this is not right in the mind. Something's wrong with them. I don't think it means they're insane. Now, I and I have this is has always been our speculation. I have absolutely no proof. Of this, but I have always believed that he was doing drugs. And I'll tell you why. And again, I have no proof. I never told it to the prosecutors. My brother had a friend that owned a business which was pretty much kitty corner across the street from that rocko's car tire or whatever.
Right. And. We have talked to him. And when we were talking to him, you know, whatever distance it is from Wayne's house, it's not the greatest neighborhood. And he told us and he's had this business there for 30 or 40 years. So he's had it a very long time. There are a number of side streets because when we told them where this selling of what happened and where this came from and what to. He said, oh, my God, he said he was the sidestreets that are by this auto repair store.
He said they are filled with drug dealers. He said the cops are here three or four times a week. Because people are selling drugs on the corner of those streets. This is Rocko's New and used auto parts on military trail. Yeah, right. And my brother's friend had a business that was like pretty much right across the street, down a couple businesses. And he knew the neighborhood. He said, you know, he said they're always selling drugs here.
At some point during the testimony of the trial, it was said that he never passed on a drug that he could get a hold of. And there was a history that he had done. What are they? Contacts like ecstasy, those man made designer drugs, whatever they call them. I know at that time, Flocke, whatever that is, was really big at the time. And you know what's supposed to give you any abnormal strength and anger and crazy emotions.
So, I mean, again, that's just my that was just something I thought was.
Yeah. That does make I mean, that does make a lot of sense, because we've we've covered many, many, many stories where there is some history of of serious mental illness like bipolar issues or schizophrenia. And the person is fine until they mix that with drugs and then something like this happens. Did you say schizophrenia, schizophrenia or bipolar issues, bipolar disorder or one of those very serious mental illnesses? OK, then I'm not saying that, you know, I'm diagnosing him and know that he did, in fact, have anything like this, but when you do mix those things together, it has disastrous consequences a lot of the time.
I wanted to ask you. About the the part of the story where Penn is in the hospital after all this is occurred and he's talking to the police officer and some of the things he says there. He according to the officer, he makes a couple of racial slurs. Do you think there was any anything to add to this that involved hatred towards your brother's sexual orientation? Well. Yeah, and that's another thing that Denise Tanner was talking about that bothered me when she spoke about Officer Nat'l and his testimony and he gave a quote from him saying he knew he was excuse my language, that I'm going to go to jail for the rest of my life.
I know what I did. What can I get for killing two fags? They never were allowed to use that word in the trial. I don't know if that was brought up in your conversation at a hearing and they were allowed to use the word homosexuals when they quoted. They were never allowed the word fag in the trial.
So they misquoted him in order to not say that word and make him look bad.
Yeah, the defense didn't want that word used because they thought it would inflate the jury that he said the word fag. So there was a whole hearing about this and they they were allowed to use that quote, but they had to use the word homosexual.
Did they instruct the jury that that wasn't the actual word?
I I don't think so. I, I don't think so. But they never used that. And then for her to say that that was a lie because her son would never use that word, I thought that was kind of absurd. I taught high school for almost 30 years. Trust me. Young people say things that they would never say in front of their parents or at home, but they'll say them out in public, in the classroom, in the hallways.
I mean, I thought that was absurd, that they could never use that word in their home. I don't think that that was to say that's why his testimony was all lies. I mean, he was legally allowed to sit there and not ask him anything but record anything he said. And why would provide county, which is where he was in the hospital and where there are still outstanding charges. For stabbing that man at the airport and a police dog, and I think that's where the charges are for him stealing the car there, Wayne's car there in Brevard County.
So I don't know why that county would want them. And why wouldn't Palm Beach County, where he was being tried for murder, why wouldn't they want any comment? I mean, she made it sound like nobody wanted him. He was pushing to get somebody to accept these comments. To me, it makes perfect sense that Palm Beach would want them in the other county.
And these are the comments he said to the officer, I'm a little confused. OK, yeah.
I'm sorry that when he was in the hospital. And that Officer Nettle's was basically, I guess, guarding him, sitting with him, babysitting, whatever they call, whatever they call it. He was allowed to sit there. And if and I would just say things, he was allowed to record them and he couldn't interrogate him because he had asked for a lawyer. Right. But whatever he said, he was allowed to record. And those comments in your interview with Denise Pena, she said, well, you know, he she called his county, Brevard County.
They didn't want to comment. So he called Palm Beach County, which is where White and Freddy lived, and asked if they wanted to comment that he made. And my point is, why wouldn't they want those comments? Yeah. That's very strange. Why wouldn't why wouldn't they want things, he said. About murdering two people in Palm Beach County. Of course, they want the. Do you think? That Zachary Penkov got what he deserved, or was it too lenient or was it too much?
What are your thoughts? Well. I think he got what he deserved at one point, the death penalty was a possibility. And honestly, I forget why it was taken off the table. I was asked what I thought, although I don't know if that would have really mattered in the long run. I've never been a proponent of the death penalty, but he he deserves to be in prison for the rest of his life.
That that's that's interesting. Can you tell me more about why you wouldn't. Be in favor of the death penalty. I mean, someone someone that's this close to someone that was brutally killed by. You know, for absolutely no reason like this, a lot of the time their opinion changes so well, and that's exactly what I was going to say. I had never been in the past a proponent of the death penalty when it was my brother. I honestly think I would have been OK with it, because it does change your perception.
But in the past, I never would have been in favor of it. But I just. I don't think he should ever be allowed to walk free. I don't think. He should be in a psych hospital because I don't think he was insane, and I know that Denise Pena. That didn't seem to think he should be in prison and she didn't know if the psych hospital was the best place for him. So I wondered, where does she think he should be?
Should he be free? Should he be released to some halfway house so he can take his medication and be the good kid he always had been? And then I think, what about Wayne and Freddie? That they shouldn't be dead. They should be alive. They should not have suffered. So horribly at his end, so. I have no sympathy for him, no. What? What about Denise Pena, because she seems to really have a lot of opinions about a son that she seems to have abandoned to some degree, right.
Well, I we both very briefly. After the trial. And I saw her testimony, and I can't say I know what it would be like, but I agree, it seems that he was passed from family member to family member and it didn't seem that they understood any of his mental health issues. I'm sure it must have been very difficult for her, but. I mean, he was her son, her family. Her responsibility she moved into when she moved to Florida, she moved into a 55 plus community, and I wonder, had she have left and if she thought his mental health was that fragile, why would she move into a community where he couldn't live?
And I tell you, my heart goes out to and has since since I heard her testify at the trial at McKernon there in. When she testified my heart was breaking for her, I think she knew absolutely nothing. I think she just wanted to help this young man. And I think this is still to this day, I'm sure it's got to be horrible for her. If she couldn't get home quick enough before he took off what he did, the voicemail that was recorded on her phone, I have much, much sympathy for her.
Yeah, she she seems to have been an innocent here. She had no ability to help him in any way, really. No, I absolutely believe she did not. I mean, just a horrible thing to live with. You know. To think that she could have could have done something. And interesting, like my brother had called me that afternoon at about four o'clock and left a voicemail, had some question about an insurance agent, I was working.
I got home. I didn't call that to six, 15. Nobody answered. So I just texted him the answer to this question. And I can't tell you how many times how many hundreds of times I've asked myself, what if I just called an hour earlier? Could I change something? You know, just some event, five, six, 15. I don't know. He'd already been attacked. Well, Kimmy, I've said this before, but my deepest condolences to you and your family, Freddie, and when absolutely did not deserve what happened to them.
No, they were planning to go into his house after we flew down the next morning. The police didn't know. We didn't learn that they caught somebody until the next morning and we were next door at their neighbor's house root canal where you played. I had never heard those 911 calls before and I'd never heard their police interviews. And I tell you. They didn't close close friends with my brother for 20 years. They walked back and forth to each other's houses and barely laughed and walked in.
And at some point during the trial, I guess Penha had said this to somebody when he first knocked on Wayne's door, somebody said, oh, go away. We don't want. And I know that was Wayne's thinking. It was rude and just kidding around with her. Right. But they they've been through hell. They have been through absolute hell over this. They've sold their home and moved. They couldn't live there anymore. It's just been a horrible thing, I listen every day.
You know, when you think about. What happened to them and what they. Went through in that house all we had to go in that house after. It was just like dishes in the sink in the middle of any normal day. Yeah. You know, just and all of their possessions, everything they had, they had about 30 or 40 birds in an aviary in the backyard, they raised cockatiels and sold them to pet stores. They had a dog.
There was a dog there. I had to see somebody in the street, luckily adopted his dog. You know, just to remove everything that it just. Can't can't even describe how painful that was. It took two years to sell his house. The probate was extremely difficult. I'm so sorry for for you and your family. Is there anything else you want to add before we wrap up here? No, the only thing I wanted to make a point about was this whole this trial.
And how I don't think it was unfair, I think they were meticulous. In describing what happened and it made perfect sense, I mean, he was angry oh, and he said something during the podcast about it isn't really rational to walk in the South Florida heat for miles.
That was just a little bit of lightness in an otherwise very dark topic.
Yeah, well, you know, I was thinking about it and, you know, in November, it's not really that hot. It's in the 70s. It's not that humid. And it wouldn't have been crazy for somebody to walk for miles. But everything he did during this whole crime spree, to me, it seemed like it was planned. As he was a plan to get away once he did this, and I think he became more violent once he realized when and Freddie were.
Just mean and they talk about the the baseball bat. And I know that he attacked when first. And he yelled for Freddie, Freddie came out with a baseball bat, and I don't think he was able to really hit this guy hard enough because their hallway was narrow so he couldn't get much strength. But I believe that he got more violent once he realized that. And then. I mean, just the way he took the car keys went on the way he picked up, you know, attacked that old woman.
Yeah, he ripped off her shirt, which was nonsensical. But he did also take her license plate and her wallet and put it in the car. And then when he got to his coworker, I think he wanted somebody to help him drive. And then when he drove all the way to Titusville, they talked about this street kid called Shepperd's away. He just ran out of gas and was looking for an isolated spot and another car that he could steal.
And again, he was planning he was taking everything out of Wayne's car and trying to put it in this van. And the only reason he ran in the woods was because the police were there. So to me, it made perfect sense what he was doing. He didn't sound didn't say he committed a crime and he was trying to get away. Yeah. Well, I have one question for you, if I could, yes, of course. How did you how did you find this story or determine or decide to do this podcast about this particular story that's just like Harriet.
Well, I grew up in South Florida. I'm familiar with that area pretty well. My uncle lives in Palm Beach. Um, I still live in Fort Lauderdale and sort of the Fort Lauderdale area. And one of our writers, well, two of two of our employees live in Florida. One one is a producer and he lives right down there. And he heard about the story. So we decided to go ahead and cover it. And then through a completely unrelated, I guess you would say, serendipity of events, we sort of became in contact with one of the editors over at the Sun-Sentinel who had reached out to us.
And we let them know we were doing a story and they seemed interested. So we talked to them because we knew they had covered the case prior. So that's how we put the show together.
Oh, I was just curious. OK, one last. But that's all I have to say. Sure, sure. I just wanted to let you know and is and is the new spin out. Listen to this interview at all. I did on the last day of the trial, we did speak and I told her that I hope that she and her family would find some peace. And I truly meant that. And I, I, I think they need to find peace in the fact that her son should be in prison for the rest of his life.
What he did can never be undone when and tragedy will never be a life again. I'll never see them again. She has hope that something will happen better for her son. I have no hope. Nobody. Freddie's family has no hope right now. You know, every day is still filled with pain and horror about what happened. And our only consolation, and it's not much of one, is just that that this man is going to be in prison for the rest of his life.
But I truly do hope that her family can find peace with it.
And I just want to say to Kim, thank you so much.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. And we hope that at least getting this out there, getting a different point of view out there is helpful in some way. Yes. Thank you. Thank you very much. And again, my heart goes out to you and everyone that that was affected by this horrible crime.
OK, thank you so much. Thank you. Bye. All right. Bye.