Saturday, March 8, 2008

Police Charge Victim's Brother with Six Murders

Posted on Sat, Mar 8, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Jessie L. Dotson, a convicted murderer who served 14 years in prison, has been charged with the murders of six people at a house on 722 Lester Street, including his younger brother Cecil Dotson.

"We can all rest a little easier today," Memphis Police Department Director Larry Godwin said at a press conference Saturday afternoon.

Godwin said police are "confident" Jessie Dotson, 33, is the only killer, although the investigation remains open. He said the brothers began arguing last Saturday afternoon and the argument continued throughout the evening, culminating in the "horrific" shootings and stabbings of nine people.

Dotson is charged with six counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder.The dead, all of whom were shot to death, included two of Cecil Dotson's sons, one four years old and the other two years old. Three other young children in the home were stabbed and critically injured.

Godwin said Jessie Dotson first shot his brother then killed or attempted to kill the others in the house to cover up the first murder. The bodies were not discovered by police for more than 30 hours.

Dotson, along with other family members of the victims, had been in protective custody most of last week. Rumors that the killings were gang reprisals have kept Memphians on edge all week.

"As a community, we are relieved that this was not a random act of violence," said Godwin. "It was committed by a person who was known."

Godwin said the more than $80,000 in reward money put up by the state and local governments and others would not be paid out.

Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons said prosecutors will make an announcement soon about whether they will seek the death penalty for Dotson, who is in the Shelby County Jail.

--John Branston

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