Attorney assigned to accused Lester Street killer - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Lori Brown

Attorney assigned to accused Lester Street killer

Jessie Dotson (left) and attorney Gerald Skahan Jessie Dotson (left) and attorney Gerald Skahan
Jessie Dotson (courtesy Jessie Dotson (courtesy

The man charged with committing six murders inside a home on Lester Street was back in court Tuesday morning.

Local attorney Gerald Skahan was assigned Jessie Dotson's case during Tuesday's hearing, after a conflict of interest kept the public defender's office from handling the case.

Dotson is accused of killing six people, including two children, and seriously injuring three other children inside a home at 722 Lester early last week.

Skahan, who spoke with Dotson for the first time Tuesday, said the case will be a tough one.

"It's a big case, a very serious case," he said. "It's probably most serious case we've seen in Memphis in 40 years. I've got my work cut out for me."

Skahan said a mental evaluation may be in order for Dotson, who is expected to answer to the charges against him next Wednesday. Prosecutors have not decided if they will seek the death penalty.

Skahan is no stranger to controversial cases. In 2006, he defended Frederick Williams, a Memphis firefighter who was found not guilty by reason of insanity for a March 2000 shooting spree that killed four people. He also defended Alfred Turner, a Memphis man convicted last year of facilitation to commit felony murder in the 1995 killing of Emily Klyce Fisher.

Gerald Skahan may be a familiar face to Dotson.  Skahan's sister, Paula Skahan represented Dotson back in 1994 for his first murder case.  That came as news to Skahan Tuesday.

"He probably knows who I am," Skahan said. "We practiced together back in '94, my sister and I.  Like I said, I remembered the name."

In his 1994 trial, Dotson pleaded guilty to second degree murder as part of a plea deal.  In August, he was paroled after serving 13 years of an 18 year prison sentence.

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