Jury opts for death sentence
Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 9:00 pm
By ADRIAN SAINZ
Associated Press Writer
MEMPHIS (AP) — Jurors on Tuesday sentenced a man to death for killing six people in a Memphis home two years ago, including his brother and two young nephews, in one of the city’s worst mass murders.
The jury deliberated less than two hours before deciding six death sentences for Jessie Dotson, 35, an ex-convict. He showed little reaction as the sentence was delivered, but appeared to nod as Criminal Court Judge James Beasley imposed the death sentence. He also nodded as he was led out of the courtroom by court officers.
Dotson was found guilty Monday of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of his brother, the brother’s girlfriend and two other adults, and the fatal stabbings of two nephews, ages 2 and 4.
Three other children survived the slaughter. Two provided key testimony against Dotson.
The jury of nine women and three men also could have chosen life in prison without parole or life in prison with parole.
“Our system of justice has worked,” District Attorney Bill Gibbons said after the sentence.
Defense attorney Gerald Skahan said, “With this many murders and a prior (conviction), it (death sentence) was probably a foregone conclusion if they convicted,” he said.
The family was not made available to the media after sentencing. Relatives of the children bowed their heads and closed their eyes while the judge was reading the sentences.
Dotson was convicted of six first-degree murder charges and three counts of attempted first-degree murder in the March 2008 attack.
After less than two hours of deliberations Monday, jurors concluded that Dotson shot his brother in the head during an argument, then used two guns and several knives to kill five other people, trying to eliminate all witnesses.
He then stabbed two boys and a 2-month-old girl, who stayed alive for about 40 hours until paramedics arrived, prosecutors said.
Dotson shot his brother Cecil Dotson in the head after a day of drinking. Then he went after everyone else in the house with two guns, boards and kitchen knives, leaving no DNA evidence behind in the house.
Also killed on March 2, 2008, were 4-year-old Cemario Dotson and 2-year-old Cecil Dotson Jr. II; Cecil Dotson’s girlfriend, Marissa Williams; and friends Hollis Seals and Shindri Roberson.
Published in The Messenger 10.13.10