Plea Deal in Local Murder Case

A transient accused of killing a local woman and dumping her body in Massalina Bayou three years ago, will spend the next 25 years in prison.

A local judge sentenced Ricky Dawson on the murder charge Monday. Dawson cut a deal with prosecutors last week, on the murder charge.

Panama City police say he murdered 53-year-old Kathy Lejay around August 27, 2001.
Lejay lived in a nearby retirement home on East Beach Drive.

Neighbors found her body floating near the tarpon dock bridge the next day. She'd been beaten to death.

The case was delayed several times as the state tried to determine if Dawson was mentally competent to stand trial. Dawson was housed at the state mental hospital in Chattahoochee twice, before a judge finally ruled he was competent.