October 12th, 2010
10:24 PM ET

Tennessee man gets death sentence for mass murder

A Tennessee jury sentenced to death on Tuesday a convicted killer responsible for what has been called the worst mass murder in the history of Memphis.

The jury took less than two hours to sentence Jessie Dotson to death on six counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder for the brutal deaths of several relatives, including his brother and toddler nephews.

Dotson had just served 14 years in prison for second-degree murder when he shot his brother, Cecil Dotson, in an early-morning fight in February 2008, according to testimony.

He told police and his mother that he killed everyone else in his brother's home to eliminate witnesses, including Cecil Dotson's girlfriend, Marissa Williams, 27, Hollis Seals, 33, and his girlfriend, Shindri Roberson, 22.

His two nephews, Cemario Dotson, 4, and Cecil Dotson II, 2, were beaten and stabbed to death.

The victims were left in the home for nearly two days before their bodies were found. Three survivors were found, including Cecil "CJ" Dotson Jr., now 11, and his brother, Cedric Dotson, now 8, who testified that their "Uncle Junior," was responsible for the attacks.

CJ was found with a knife sticking from his head. The other survivor was 2-month-old Ceniyah Dotson, who also sustained multiple stab wounds.

Memphis Police Sgt. Tony Mullins testified that the "horrific" scene at the house was the most brutal he'd ever witnessed in his long career.

Taking the stand in his defense, Dotson said he had been coerced into making the confession, and that he hid under a bed in the home during the slayings. The slayings were initially investigated as a gang hit until the survivors identified their uncle.

The case made national headlines after it appeared on the A&E series, The First 48. The jury for the highly publicized case was selected in Nashville and brought to Memphis.

More coverage from CNN affiliate WREG

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Filed under: Crime • Death Penalty • Tennessee
soundoff (115 Responses)
  1. Robert

    why did it take 14 years to figure this out??? I think I know, lawyers charge by the hour... I say shot him in the face now, and then put all the phony balony lawyers and judges etc in jail for 25 years.

    October 14, 2010 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. Bill E

    Let me just put out some facts for some of you who believe that quick execution is such a terrible thing. The average cost of housing an inmate, depending on the state, is around $50-$80 a day. That comes out to be about $18000-$30000 a year, that I, as a taxpayer, am contributing to paying, for ONE criminal. Couple that with the fact, according to a Ohio State University study, that less than .5 percent of all convicted people are innocent, and I say go ahead, get rid of them as soon as possible. Once they are convicted, have one more jury review the evidence, and if they find him guilty as well, you don't get any appeals. Your done. Why should we as taxpayers have to pay all that money to house inmates that broke the rules of our society?

    October 14, 2010 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  3. Hood figga

    How about this.....the rest of the country gets on californias band wagon and start to legalize my good friend Mari J. Uana which would in theory lead to lighter punishments for people in possession of controlled substances which would then keep lighter offenders on the streets and keep the heavier ones (like this fool who needs to die slow yet quick) locked away.

    October 19, 2010 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
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