Police announce arrest in Lester Street murders - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Police announce arrest in Lester Street murders

Jessie Dotson (Source: shelbysheriff.org) Jessie Dotson (Source: shelbysheriff.org)
Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin (center) at Saturday's press conference. Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin (center) at Saturday's press conference.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Four adults and two children found dead at a Memphis residence died because of a fight between brothers, one a convicted killer recently released from prison, police said Saturday.

The bodies were discovered Monday at a small rental house where three other children also were found critically wounded.

Jessie L. Dotson, 33, was arrested on Friday - five days after the bodies were discovered in the house in a rough, low-income neighborhood called Binghampton.

Dotson was charged with six counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder. Among the dead was Dotson's brother, Cecil, 30, who was the father of the children, ages 9 years to 2 months.

Jessie Dotson, who was released from prison in January after serving 14 years for second-degree murder, is accused of shooting his brother during an argument and then killing the others to get rid of witnesses.

"He tried to kill everyone in the house. He thought everyone in the house was dead," said Memphis police Lt. Joe Scott, a homicide detective.

Also killed were Hollis Seals, 33, Shindri Roberson, 25, and Marissa Rene Williams, 26, the mother of four of Cecil Dotson's children. The dead children were identified as Cemario Dotson, 4, and Cecil Dotson, 2.

The adults were shot with a semiautomatic handgun, while the children were stabbed with a knife or bludgeoned, police said.

The surviving youngsters remained under police protection at a children's hospital in Memphis.

Police refused to give their identities or discuss their conditions, but an arrest warrant affidavit said at least one of the children was able to talk with investigators.

The child "implicated Jessie Dotson as the person responsible," the affidavit said. "Dotson was interviewed and gave an oral statement of admission to these crimes."

Jail records showed Dotson was not yet allowed visitors and no lawyer was listed for him. No court dates had been set. 

Police said the victims were killed Sunday morning and the bodies were discovered Monday after relatives were unable to contact them by phone or visits to the house.

The adults were found in the living room and the children were found in the two bedrooms of the residence and in the bathroom, said Police Director Larry Godwin.

Cecil Dotson and Seals also had criminal records that include possession of illegal drugs and firearms. Cecil Dotson is identified in jail records as a known gang member.

Godwin said investigators at first thought the killings might be some kind of "gang related retaliation."

"I know the fear that gripped this community. I think we all felt it," Godwin said.

District Attorney General Bill Gibbons said his office has not yet decided if it will seek the death penalty in the slayings.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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