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Carlton Eric DOTSON Jr.





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Former college basketball player
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: June 11, 2003
Date of arrest: July 21, 2003
Date of birth: June 1, 1982
Victim profile: Patrick Dennehy. 21 (his teammate)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Waco, Texas, USA
Status: Pleaded guilty. Sentenced to 35 years in prison on June 15, 2005
photo gallery

Complaint/Affidavit for Arrest Warrant


Carlton Eric Dotson, Jr. (born June 1, 1982) is an American former college basketball player who is currently serving a 35-year prison term for murdering Patrick Dennehy, one of his teammates.

Basketball career

Dotson attended North Dorchester High School. He played at University at Buffalo and Paris Junior College before transferring to Baylor in the summer of 2002, where he played one season as a forward.

Dennehy's murder

In the summer of 2003, Dennehy and Dotson indicated that they were concerned about their safety. They had purchased two pistols and a rifle and practiced firing them at a farm north of Waco. On June 14, Dennehy told friend Daniel Okopnyi that he was worried about threats made to Dotson by two fellow teammates. Dennehy also indicated that he and Dotson would be at a party the following day at which neither appeared.

Over the next few days, there were indications that something had gone wrong: Dennehy's mother and stepfather, Valorie and Brian Brabazon, were concerned that they had received no calls on Father's Day, Dennehy's roommate, Chris Turk, returned from an out-of-town trip to find that Dennehy's dogs had not been fed in days. On June 19, the Brabazons filed a report with the Waco Police Department that Dennehy was missing.

On June 25, Dennehy's Chevrolet Tahoe SUV was found in the parking lot of a shopping mall in Virginia Beach, Virginia, with its license plates removed.

An affidavit filed on June 23, which was unsealed on June 30, seeking a search warrant for Dennehy's computer says that an informant in Delaware told police that Dotson, who by now was at home in Hurlock, Maryland, told a cousin that he had shot and killed Dennehy during an argument while firing guns in the Waco area. On July 21, Dotson was charged with murdering Dennehy and taken into custody by Corporal Keith Benton and Sgt. Henry Hernandez of the Dorchester County, Maryland, Sheriff's Office.

The search for Dennehy continued for several weeks until July 25, when a badly-decomposed body was found in a gravel pit near Waco and was taken to Dallas for an autopsy. The following day, medical examiners identified the body as being Patrick Dennehy. On July 30, his death was ruled a homicide after a preliminary autopsy report showed that Dennehy died of gunshot wounds to the head. Dennehy was buried in San Jose, California, on August 7.

Trial and appeals

On October 28, 2004, Dotson was declared incompetent to stand trial by District Judge George Allen and was sent to a state mental hospital to be reevaluated in four months' time. Three psychiatrists, including one appointed by the court, said that Dotson appeared to be suffering from hallucinations and psychosis, but that should he regain competency in the future, he would be made to stand trial.

However, in February 2005, Dotson was returned to jail after psychologists deemed him competent to stand trial but that he must continue taking his anti-psychotic medication. The psychologist also said that Dotson's accounts of hallucinations and hearing voices were "suspect."

On June 8, 2005, five days before his trial for murder was to begin, Dotson unexpectedly pleaded guilty to killing Dennehy. On June 15, Dotson was sentenced to 35 years in prison. He will be eligible for parole in 2021, after serving roughly half his sentence.

In January 2006, Dotson attempted to appeal his conviction. However, his request for an appeal was denied on the grounds that he surrendered his right to appeal when he pleaded guilty,


Dotson sentenced to 35 years in Dennehy murder case

By Rod Aydelotte -

June 15, 2005

WACO, Texas (AP) Former Baylor basketball player Carlton Dotson was sentenced to 35 years in prison Wednesday, a week after he unexpectedly pleaded guilty to murdering his teammate two years ago.

Dotson, 23, faced from five years to life in prison for charges of killing Patrick Dennehy. The 21-year-old who dreamed of playing in the NBA was missing for six weeks before his body was found in July 2003 in a field where the best friends had gone to shoot guns at targets.

On June 8, five days before his murder trial was to start, Dotson pleaded guilty without a sentencing deal with prosecutors. Dotson will be eligible for parole after serving about half of the sentence.

After the sentencing, Dennehy's stepfather, Brian Brabazon, called Dotson an "instrument of the devil" and said he killed the Dennehy family's dreams when he pulled the trigger.

"Carlton, Patrick was someone who cared for you, who you laughed with, who was there by your side," Brabazon said, at times glaring and pointing at Dotson, who showed no expression. "He would not leave you no matter how tough times got. ... Carlton Dotson, you killed a beautiful young man: James Patrick Dennehy II, a loving son, a loving brother, a loving boyfriend, a human being."

As Dotson was led out of the courtroom, Brabazon held up a framed picture of Dennehy and shouted "Remember him! Remember his face!" to Dotson.

No witnesses were called Wednesday. State District Judge Ralph Strother ruled based on documents filed by prosecutors and defense attorneys. Strother said he considered the senseless nature of the crime, Dotson's mental problems, age and lack of previous criminal record.

"I suspect there is no way in the world for these two families who have suffered in this situation to appreciate the suffering that each has undergone," Strother said. "I hope that as time goes by, that they will understand that there but by the grace of God could go I."

After the brief hearing, Dennehy's mother, Valorie Brabazon, wiped away tears and said she wanted a longer sentence. She said the family would attend all parole board hearings and urge that Dotson "doesn't walk the streets again."

Defense attorney Russ Hunt Sr. said the punishment was fair and that Dotson was remorseful. Dotson told his attorneys that in the months before he shot Dennehy, he was paranoid that people were trying to kill him.

"Patrick started shooting at cans and things; he had a gun in his hand. At that time Carlton thought, 'He's going to kill me. I know he's going to kill me. I've got to kill him first.' And he killed him first," Hunt said.

Dotson's mother, Gilreatha Stoltzfus, who shook hands with Dennehy's relatives in the courtroom, said she urged her son to plead guilty. She also said Baylor should be held responsible for not supervising the athletes.

Part of the prosecution's report to the judge included FBI documents detailing Dotson's confession, in which he said "a higher power told him to talk to the FBI" and told authorities where to look for Dennehy. The body was found a few days later.

Dotson told agents that he thought people were trying to kill him because "he is Jesus, the son of God." Dotson, who moved in with Dennehy in May 2003, said the two bought guns for protection after receiving threatening phone calls.

He told FBI agents that on June 11, Dennehy pointed a gun at him after the pair went to gravel pits for target practice. When Dennehy's gun jammed, Dotson said "Father, please forgive me," and shot his friend. He then packed his belongings, called a relative to wire him money and drove home to Maryland, throwing the gun in a lake along the way.

But the autopsy doesn't support his self-defense claim. Dennehy was shot twice: once above the right ear and once behind it toward the back of the head.

Last fall, Dotson was found incompetent to stand trial and was sent to a state mental hospital. He was returned to jail in February after a hospital psychologist said Dotson was competent but must keep taking anti-psychotic medication.

The psychologist also said Dotson's accounts of hearing voices and seeing things were "suspect."

His attorneys later said they would not use an insanity defense.

Meanwhile, Baylor is waiting on the expected summer release of an NCAA report on whether the school faces more sanctions in addition to Baylor's self-imposed penalties.

Allegations of NCAA violations surfaced after Dennehy's disappearance and death, and men's coach Dave Bliss and athletic director Tom Stanton later resigned.

An internal Baylor investigative committee later found that Bliss improperly paid up to $40,000 in tuition for Dennehy and another player, and that the coaching staff didn't report players' failed drug tests. Bliss also asked players and an assistant coach to lie to investigators by saying Dennehy paid his tuition by dealing drugs.



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