Jessie Dotson timeline:
Nov. 21, 1994: Pleads guilty to second-degree murder of Halle Cox in bad drug deal. Gets 18-year sentence.
Aug. 27, 2007: Released on parole.
Jan. 26, 2008: Parole and sentence expire.
March 3, 2008: Dotson’s brother, three other adults and two children are found shot and stabbed at 722 Lester St. Three children are critically injured.
March 8, 2008: Jessie Dotson confesses after one of the surviving children identifies him, “Uncle Junior,” as the lone attacker.
Oct. 11, 2010: Dotson is convicted on all counts.
Oct. 12, 2010: Dotson receives six death penalties.
Nov. 8, 2010: Dotson receives an additional 120 years in prison
Convicted murderer Jessie Dotson receives maximum 120-year sentence</style=”font-size:>
November 9, 2010
The man already sentenced to death six times for the city’s worst mass murder case received an additional 120 years in prison Tuesday for beating and stabbing three children who survived.
Neither the relaxed, smiling Jessie Dotson nor his lawyers had anything to say in his defense as the judge and prosecutors said Dotson has no regard for human life.
“In my 40 years of being in the criminal justice system in Shelby County, I’ve seen a lot of cases and I don’t know of anything more (legally) aggravating than this,” said Criminal Court Judge James Beasley Jr. “I guess we’re used to seeing adults (as victims), but it is uncommon for us to see children get killed, to see children mangled and butchered like this.
“In my opinion, Mr. Dotson should never be allowed to walk the streets of society again. He’s given up that right.”
In imposing the maximum sentence, Beasley gave Dotson 40 years consecutive for each of three counts of attempted first-degree murder.
Last month, the jury that convicted him of the six Lester Street murders gave him death sentences on each one.
Prosecutors Ray Lepone and Reginald Henderson said the additional sentences are more than legal window dressing.
“These are nine separate cases with nine separate victims and we’re using every legal measure to make sure he never walks the streets again,” said Lepone, noting that each conviction will be reviewed on appeal. “Each victim deserves a sentencing hearing. He brutalized those children and left them to die in that house.”
Dotson, 35, who had served almost 14 years in prison for a 1994 murder, was convicted of shooting to death his brother, Cecil, 30, on March 2, 2008, at 722 Lester St. and then eliminating witnesses, including Marissa Williams, 27, Shindri Roberson, 22, Hollis Seals, 33, and Cecil’s children, Cemario, 4, and Cecil II, 2.
Jessie Dotson, the children’s uncle, then beat and stabbed Cecil “CJ” Jr., 9, Cedric, 5, and Ceniyah, 2 months. CJ, who was found with a knife protruding from his skull, and Cedric, both testified that “Uncle Jessie” was the lone attacker.
The dead and injured were left in the house for some 40 hours before they were discovered.
“The children were devastated,” said their grandmother, Ida Anderson, who now is raising the children. “This is something that has wrecked them completely. The children have been in counseling, the whole family has been in counseling. The grandchildren want to know why it happened, why he killed their parents. The children loved him (Uncle Jessie).
“All I can tell them is that God is in control and that He will take care of us.”
A special-needs fund established for the children two years ago by First Baptist Church on Broad raised $139,000 and was placed in a trust in Probate Court. Last month officials issued a new plea for continued social and financial support, setting up the Dotson Children’s Benefit Fund. Donations can be made at any BankTennessee branch.
“People have contributed to our needs, but our lives have been turned upside down,” Anderson said. “The children have undergone surgeries and have more to come. There’s still scarring.”
Jessie Dotson’s execution date is set for March 2, 2012, four years to the day after the murders, though a delay is a virtual certainty.
Automatic appeals typically continue for more than a decade.
****CREDIT By Lawrence Buser