Home / America’s Dysfunctional Family: The Sextons

America’s Dysfunctional Family: The Sextons

You thought your family was dysfunctional, read about one dysfunctional family that ended up with getting the death penalty or jail time. Find out more here. Eddie Lee Sexton is an American man that was known for forcing his children to murder along with committing sexual abuse in his own family, which resulted in a cult-like environment. 

Sexton fathered about three children with two of his own flesh and blood daughters. 

Eddie’s Sextons defense attorney, Rick Terrana even went as far to say that the Sexton household was one of the most dysfunctional families in all of America. 

The Sexton case even gained national attention because of the sensational and graphic details that were spilled in the courtroom. 

Eddie Sexton was finally captured after he was living life as a fugitive for over 12 months to avoid being caught on his child abuse charges. 

Sexton was finally given the death sentence for plotting the murder against Joel, his son-in-law, by holding the gun to his biological son’s Willie head all while telling Willie to strangle Joel. 

Sexton also received another 15 years for conspiring to kidnap and murder an acquaintance of his as well. 

After Sexton submitted an appeal, his capital punishment case was overturned, and Sexton was granted another new trial. His retrial gave him the same outcome, he was found guilty and given the death sentence. However, Sexton ultimately died from natural causes in prison before he could be executed. 

Early Life

Eddie Sexton was born in Logan, West Virginia. His family was coal miners when he was growing up. Sexton’s father also worked as a part-time Baptist preacher. 

Then in 1963, Sexton committed his first armed robbery. He robbed a gas station just 24-hours after he married his then 15-year-old pregnant girlfriend.  For this crime, Sexton was given 5 years in which he had to serve in a state prison. His wife divorced him after she gave birth to their son, Patrick. 

Sexton later married Estella May. Eddie and Estella together had twelve children. Eddie and Estella also called Stark County, Ohio their home. 

People would describe Eddie as polite and charming when you first met him. But when you really got to know who the true Eddie was then you saw him as a fraudster and a serial con artist. 

Eddie was receiving some Social Security disability benefits because of his “fake” back injury, but at the same time, he was also working under the table as a handyman and a painter. 

He was even suspected to have committed insurance fraud by setting at least 3 of his homes on fire during the 1980s all while faking burglaries and even reporting stolen items, that were not really stolen. 

Abuse and Investigations

Later, in life, the children of Eddie and Estella would state that their parents would commit some of the most extreme acts of abuse on them nearly every day. The children stated that every one of them were sexually abused by both of their parents. Their parents would also beat them and lock them in their bedrooms if they had a minor infraction. The children even stated that they suffered from other indignities as well. 

All the Sexton children would go on to attend public schools. Their father Eddie would only allow each of the children to have one friend each. These friends were never allowed to visit them at home and the children were never allowed to visit their friends’ houses either. 

Eddie made the children believe that he had some sort of supernatural powers, which he could summon spirits and even ghosts. 

As a result of both parents abusing the children, many of the children started being sexually abusive to each other as well. 

Their father, Eddie even went as far as staging fake weddings that consist of him getting married to his daughters before he would rape them. 

Eddie’s children even would state that their father would hold such events like seance-like ceremonies which would involve a dead cat, and each of the children would have to sign a contract using their own blood stating that they would be banished to hell, if they did not obey him. 

Eddie would end up impregnating his daughter Estella, who was also known as Pixie as she shared the same name with her mother. 

Eddie would then encourage Pixie to go off and find a boyfriend once she got pregnant to help divert some of the suspicion away from him. 

This is when Pixie met Joel Good. Joel was one of Pixie’s high school classmates. Joel was not the brightest crayon in the box, but he was also very trusting in nature as well. 

Joel and Pixie had an on and off again type of relationship. Eventually, the pair did end up getting married, even though Joel’s family did not think it was a good idea as at the time of their marriage because Pixie was a mother of two daughters, Shasta and Dawn. 

After Pixie and Joel got married, she gave birth to a baby boy they named Skipper Lee Good. 

The Sexton household was always suspected to have some sort of neglectful and abusive nature against their children. There was a file on the family that was dated back to 1979, but the evidence in this file was lacking, to say the least. 

But then in the early days of 1992, Eddie’s daughter, Machelle, who was 18 years of age informed some of the employees at the local women’s shelter that her father, Eddie was raping her. 

When Machelle made this claim, there was still six of her siblings that were living under her parents’ roof because they were still minors. 

Three of the children said there was no abuse, while the other three reported that there was physical abuse going on in the home. The officials removed the three children that reported physical abuse and they were put into foster care while officials investigated further. 

Unfortunately, Machelle complicated the case when she retracted her claims. 


Lana Sexton was one of the three children that were sent off into foster care pending further investigations on her parents. When she was with her foster family for seven months, she finally spoke out to her foster parents and told them that her biological mother, Estella was indeed sexually abusing her. 

This claim was able to be confirmed by conducting a medical exam in which doctors were able to find vaginal scarring, which happened to be consistent with her claims. 

This is when the Stark County authorities decided it was time to take the remaining three minor Sexton children out of their homes and into foster care. 

Both Estella and Eddie were the first ones to respond with many legal motions that were strategically designed to slow down the process. The pair even tried to prove that they had Native American ancestry in hopes they could shift their case to the tribal court. 

Fortunately, these legal motions were not working in their favor. When the Sextons realized this, they decided it was best to start life on the run. 

However, Estella and Eddie did not travel alone. They grabbed three of their children who were minors at the time, Pixie and Joel, and Pixie’s three children as well. 

So, the pair was traveling in a group of eleven people. They all lived within a cramped van as they were traveling around the country. 

They started out in Oklahoma where they stayed with some of Eddie’s relatives for a few months, before they decided it was time to move on to a campsite at the Little Manatee River State Park in West Florida. 

When they moved to the campsite, this is when Eddie was forcing everyone with him to start participating in paramilitary type of drills in case there would be a huge showdown with law enforcement. 

This is when the Sexton children would start inhaling gasoline fumes and drinking heavily. 

While they were down in Florida Eddie would make the drive back to the state of Ohio about every two weeks, so he could cash his disability checks. 

However, unbeknownst to him, the courts in Ohio issued warrants for his arrest. But fortunately for him, his case was low priority to the point that it was not even really publicized as the case was in family court. And family court does not allow the names of child abuse victims to be put out there in the media. 

Then during the late hours of October 19, 1993, Pixie decided it was best to smother Skipper, her son to death. Skipper was ill and Eddie was not going to allow Pixie to let her bring her child to the doctor. 

However, later Pixie stated that Eddie told her she needed to silence Skipper to avoid him drawing unwanted attention to their campsite as they were living in violation of the time-limit and occupancy rules. 

Pixie carried the corpse of Skipper along with her for a few days stated that her father would have the power to revive him, but they eventually buried Skipper near the campsite. 

Arrest and Trials

Finally, the FBI officially issued a national arrest warrant for Estella and Eddie Sexton for Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution. 

The pair were officially arrested on January 14, 1994 when the authorities were able to trace the pair down by a zip code in Florida that was on one of the many self-produced Sexton’s video cassettes that he was mailing to Janet Reno. 

All the minor children with them were taken into custody, while all the adult children were officially released. 

Everyone was questioned and investigated as well. However, this would finally reveal that there were many other crimes that happened along the way and this was not just strictly child abuse as they once thought. 

Pixie’s children, Shasta and Dawn both had signs of sexual abuse. Dawn was able to tell investigators that Scott and Willie Sexton were the ones abusing her. 

Throughout the interviews, they were also able to find out what happened to Skipper. They first thought it was due to SIDS, but then Pixie spoke up about it and took the blame for his death. 

Ultimately, the investigations turned out to be more complex than what investigators could have hoped for. They were able to get all the details from all the crimes that happened throughout the years. 

There were many trials pending against the Sextons and the outcomes were what anyone could have hoped for. 

Eddie Sexton was found guilty in under three hours of deliberation. Eddie was given the death sentence on November 2, 1994. 

Pixie was given a 6-year sentence for her part in killing her son Skipper. While Pixie’s brother decided it was best to plead guilty to his second-degree murder charges. Willie received a sentence of 25 years. 

While Estella May received a two-year prison sentence for her part in abusing Lana. However, Estella May also had a second trial. In this trial, she was charged with over a dozen abuse charges and she was given life in prison. 

In 1997, Eddie appealed his case. His appeal was able to overturn his conviction and grant him a new trial. However, even with his new trial, he was still without a doubt found guilty and given the death penalty all over again. Eddie was given the death penalty for the second time on November 18, 1998. However, Eddie died from natural causes in Florida’s Union Correctional Institution. 

Estella May Warren died in October of 2017 from natural causes at the age of 70.