Tuesday, October 12 2010 6:39 PM EDT2010-10-12 23:39:51 GMT
Sentencing begins today in the trial of Jessie Dotson, the man convicted of killing six people, including two children, inside a home on Lester Street in March of 2008. INSIDE: Updates from the courtroom.More >>
Monday, July 28 2014 7:27 PM EDT2014-07-28 23:27:00 GMT
(WMC) - On Monday night, there are concerns about plans to build a warehouse right outside of Olive Branch, Miss. The site of a proposed industrial park could bring hundreds of jobs to DeSoto County,More >>
On Monday night, there are concerns about plans to build a warehouse right outside of Olive Branch, Miss.More >>
Monday, July 28 2014 7:05 PM EDT2014-07-28 23:05:47 GMT
(WMC) - The state plans to call more than 20 witnesses during Maurice Brown Sr.'s murder trial. The defense has at least one. Brown plans to take the stand in his own defense. Even before he testifies,More >>
The state plans to call more than 20 witnesses during Maurice Brown Sr.'s murder trial. The defense has at least one. Brown plans to take the stand in his own defense. Even before he testifies, though, the jury will have already heard from him.More >>
Monday, July 28 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-07-28 22:58:53 GMT
(WMC) - It's a miraculous recovery for one of man's best friends after a dog was left abandoned in a closet when his former owner moved out of a house. Emergency vets say the dog survived despite someMore >>
It's a miraculous recovery for one of man's best friends after a dog was left abandoned in a closet when his former owner moved out of a house.More >>
Monday, July 28 2014 6:51 PM EDT2014-07-28 22:51:01 GMT
(WMC-TV) - More than 150 kids took part in the National Drive, Chip, and Putt contest Monday at Mirimichi Golf Course in Millington.It's golf's version of the NFL's punt, pass and kick competition. KidsMore >>
More than 150 kids took part in the National Drive, Chip, and Putt contest Monday at Mirimichi Golf Course in Millington.More >>
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - One day after convicting Jessie Dotson on six counts of first degree murder in the March, 2008 Lester Street attacks, a jury in Memphis sentenced him to death.
Dotson faced three possible sentences: death by lethal injection, life in prison with no possibility of parole, or life in prison with possibility of parole after 51 years.
The jury deliberated less than two hours Tuesday before deciding the sentence for 35-year-old Jessie Dotson.
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.
To urge jurors to impose a death penalty sentence on mass murder suspect Jessie Dotson, prosecutor Ray Lepone brought in Ida Anderson, who's now raising the surviving Lester Street children.
"At this point in my life, I didn't expect to be raising children, but they are a joy," she said. "I'm doing the best I can that they can grow up to be viable citizens."
Ida Anderson is the mother of Marissa Williams, and grandmother of four-year-old CeMario Dotson - both murdered by March 3, 2008.
Anderson's identity was hidden during trial phase testimony - and only revealed after the conviction.
"We are in counseling," Anderson said. "It's hard. We're making adjustments. It's hard, but we'll get through it. With God's help, we will get through."
The defense then brought on a mitigation specialist who studied Dotson's troubled upbringing to urge jurors to give Dotson mercy: Life in prison instead of the death penalty.
As Dotson's mother looked on, Glori Shettles described chaos and abuse at home.
"She was leaving the children. She was leaving the home," Shettles said. "At one point she went on a church trip in North Carolina and came back with a boyfriend."
Shettles said Dotson was bullied as a child because of what he wore, and he repeated the fourth grade because he didn't go to school.
"The kids didn't have clothes," she said. "They didn't have decent clothes and they were picked on. Jessie in particular. So he just didn't go to school."
Dotson looked down as Shettles described how Dotson's father beat his mother. She then took the children away and the children never knew where their father went.
"One day he came home and the kids were gone and he didn't know where they were, and they were gone," she said. "It wasn't four or five months before she got in touch with Jessie Senior."
At one point, Dotson's grandmother threw him out of her house because he stole money to eat. By 8th grade, at age 16, Dotson dropped out of school and entered the juvenile court system.
Dotson sent shockwaves through Courtroom 10 when he changed from his shirt and slacks into a jailhouse jumpsuit, after court broke for lunch.
"Mr. Dotson has chosen to change into his jail clothes," Judge James Beasley told the jury.
Jurors wiped away tears when the prosecution released gruesome photos they hadn't seen during the trial.
"We selected just three," prosecutor Ray Lepone said. "They are going to be hard to look at."
Still, defense attorney Marty McAfee pleaded for mercy, reminding jurors Dotson was bullied as a child.
"Life in prison, life without parole is enough," he said.
McAffee asked jurors to think hard before considering death.
"You have to look at yourself before you make that decision," he said.
Then, Lepone took center stage, making an impassioned plea to jurors to impose the death penalty. Dotson began looking away, no longer engaged.
"A prior convicted murderer who's in society for five months kills six more people, including children?!," he said.
Lapone said it doesn't matter whether or not jurors support the death penalty.
"You want to talk about giving the death penalty? He gave the death penalty to six people," he said. "You know they screamed and begged for their lives. Now Jessie's doing the same? Did Shindri get a jury? Did Marissa get a jury?"
Lepone asked the jury to find courage in the two of the three surviving children who were brave enough to testify - with the killer in the room.
"What's going to stop him? You," he said to jurors. "You. How? With the law. And it should be death."
A death penalty verdict must be unanimous. If Dotson gets life in prison, the jury decides if he gets concurrent sentences - meaning at the same time - or if each sentence will be consecutive - meaning he has to serve each sentence, one after the other.
Check back for updates on this story.
Copyright 2010 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.
Selected archived coverage of the Lester Street Murders:
Saturday, July 26 2014 11:48 AM EDT2014-07-26 15:48:44 GMT
(WMC) - A man identifying himself as a sheriff's deputy collecting money for a church walked into the wrong business Friday. "This individual walked in, said 'I work for the sheriff's department, andMore >>
A man identifying himself as a sheriff's deputy collecting money for a church walked into the wrong business Friday.More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 3:19 PM EDT2014-07-25 19:19:10 GMT
(WMC) – A prostitution sting was conducted at a Southaven hotel Thursday. As a result, the following 12 people were arrested: Preston K. Mitchell, 52, Memphis, Tenn., charged with procuring prostitutionMore >>
A prostitution sting was conducted at a Southaven hotel Thursday. Twelve people were arrested.More >>
They were born just two weeks apart. A 10-week-old baby and 8-week-old pit bull have a fascinating relationship. They absolutely adore each other! Louisiana native Brandi Hodges, 25, has posted photosMore >>
A 10-week-old baby and 8-week-old Pitbull have a fascinating relationship. They absolutely adore each other!More >>
Sunday, July 27 2014 12:51 PM EDT2014-07-27 16:51:59 GMT
Two men suspected in a gang rape of a woman at a Shell Gas station turned themselves into police on Saturday. According to the Jackson Police Department, the incident allegedly occurred Friday, July 18More >>
Two men suspected in a gang rape of a woman at a Shell Gas station turned themselves into police on Saturday. More >>
Monday, July 28 2014 5:26 PM EDT2014-07-28 21:26:47 GMT
(WMC) – Maurice Brown Jr. would have turned 6 years old just three days ago, but in 2012 his life was cut short. His body was found in a dumpster and his own father is charged with his murder. MauriceMore >>
Maurice Brown Sr. faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of his son. In court on Monday, he pleaded not guilty. More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 6:54 AM EDT2014-07-25 10:54:07 GMT
Leaders of Oasis Church say they received more than 1,000 inquiries about the free house, but those interested say it would cost too much to move the structure.More >>
A free house offer fell through for a Pascagoula church. Last month, WLOX reported that Oasis Church wanted to find a good home for an old house. Leaders posted the house on social media and Craigslist. The post went viral, but there were no takers. So this week, the house came crashing down.More >>
Thursday, July 24 2014 12:04 AM EDT2014-07-24 04:04:58 GMT
The victim of a vicious gang rape is warning other women in the metro area. The victim and her attorney talked about the attack exclusively with WLBT. The 35-year-old woman, whose identity we are protecting,More >>
The victim, whose identity we are protecting, said, "He put the gun to my head and told me to take my clothes off. And that's when I couldn't do nothing. I was just standing there crying. And the other dude came from behind the truck. He put one in my side. And they bent me over in my front seat and they started raping me over and over again." More >>