Police: Drug dealer, prostitute implicated in August slaying

A tractor-trailer driver found dead Aug. 1 in his rig was robbed by a drug dealer as a prostitute watched him fatally shoot the New York man, officers testified at a Monday Columbus Recorder's Court hearing.

But Mario Williams, the 26-year-old man facing murder and armed robbery charges, told the judge he was performing at a local club the night of the slaying.

Williams and Diana Branchfield, 45, were both held without bond by Judge MIchael Cielinski for the Aug. 1 slaying of John Beflance, of Fonda, N.Y., after Columbus Police Detective Matt Blackstock testified that Branchfield told him she watched Williams shoot the truck driver once in the chest and take money from his front shirt pocket.

"Mario pulled a handgun and shot the victim in the chest," Blackstock said. "Diana said she did not know the victim would be shot and killed."

See Tuesday's Ledger-Enquirer for more on this story.