Prosecutors to seek death penalty in Lester Street murders - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Prosecutors to seek death penalty in Lester Street murders

Jessie Dotson (Courtesy Shelby County Sheriff's Department) Jessie Dotson (Courtesy Shelby County Sheriff's Department)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A convicted killer accused of slaying four adults and two young children during a March rampage was indicted Thursday on first-degree murder charges. Prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty.

Police say Jessie Dotson, 33, went on a shooting and stabbing rampage at the Memphis home of his brother, Cecil Dotson, 30.

Three children survived but were critically hurt. All the youngsters were Cecil Dotson's children. One of the slain adults, Marissa Williams, 26, was the mother of four of the children, ages 2 months to 9 years.

Police say Jessie Dotson, who spent 14 years in prison for killing a man during a drug deal, is accused of killing his brother after an argument and going after the other victims to get rid of witnesses.

Also killed were Hollis Seals, 33, Shindri Roberson, 25, Cemario Dotson, 4, and 2-year-old Cecil Dotson II.

Jessie Dotson was arrested four days after the killings and is being held without bond. He is charged with six counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder and illegal possession of a handgun.

"We haven't see their evidence yet," said his attorney, Gerald Skahan. "At this point, we're just getting ready for trial like they are."

No trial date has been set.

"We have identified seven different factors which qualify him for the death penalty under state law. That's pretty extraordinary," said Bill Gibbons, the lead state prosecutor in Memphis.

Under Tennessee law, prosecutors must show "aggravating circumstances" surrounding a crime that warrant asking a jury to return a death sentence.

For Dotson, the aggravating factors include mass murder, the deaths of children under 12, a prior conviction of a crime of violence and especially heinous killings.

The surviving children were hospitalized in critical condition after the attacks, and police records say one of the survivors identified Jessie Dotson as the killer.

Stay with Action News 5 and WMCTV.com for updates on this story.

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