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. ohmygod

    Just putrid.

    October 12, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • jason van atta

      its important to kill this offender not because of revenge, but because any healthy organism ( i.e. human society )
      rids itself of disease. we just cleaned our gene pool up one more bit. someone this predatory needs to be removed from the herd immediately

      October 13, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barry Obama

      Begin with hydrochloric acid on his genitals ....... I leave the rest up to all of YOU ......

      October 13, 2010 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • ikantraed


      JUSTICE AT LAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      October 14, 2010 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. La Piovra

    They made a mistake letting him out the first time.

    October 12, 2010 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • JerriC

      That's the truth.

      October 14, 2010 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. tomcat

    he should die as he killed

    October 12, 2010 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • BK

      Yes we should make sure to kill him brutally, because that will mean that we are better people than he is and make all his victims poof back to life.
      Oh wait. I guess not.

      October 13, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      It's not about maing his victems come back to life...it's about making him suffer as they did. And yes, I am okay with that. Deal with it.

      October 13, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • GillenH20

      Giving this monster life without possibility of parole, in a max security prison, in isolation 23 hours of the day, is much worse than executing him. He'd suffer more, and it wouldn't make us taxpayers killers just like him.

      October 13, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Donna

      Oh ok BK what ever happened to 'eye for an eye"? oh wait – I forgot you're suppposed to pick and choose the parts you like........

      October 13, 2010 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. kmguest

    My heart goes out to the family and especially the survivors. I hope that they are stronger despite this horrific event, and that they build their lives and become an inspiration to others.

    October 12, 2010 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. lynn

    this is sad. this guy hated his family and wanted to wipe them out. 14 years for murder thats no time.

    October 13, 2010 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jim Brieske

    Execute him tomorrow. How much money is Tennessee in debt? Billions. How much does a bullet cost? How much will it cost to keep him alive again. Should have executed him the first time. The people of Tennesse are accomplices in the murder of his victims. That is a fact using simple logic.
    Tennessee has a job security apparatus that creates employment for prison gaurds. Like all the other states, they have the blood of thousands and thousands of innocent people on their hands. You publicly execute immediately, the day after sentencing. You turn it into carnaval atmosphere.
    But as God knows, you people refuse to do that because your Prison Gaurds Union would lobby against it. They want to keep their jobs.
    Can you see how the logic of that would anger someone? It's a form of greed at the expense of the innocent.

    October 13, 2010 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
    • TW

      And on the off chance they are actually innocent? I think "the next day" is pretty excessive!

      October 13, 2010 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Den-O

      I can see your point but you and I both know that there are plenty of other types of criminals to keep the prison guards in jobs wether they get rid of the murders the day after the verdict or keep them 20 years as seems to be par for course with the court systems. I say have the trial, then habe an independent TEAM to overlook everything to make sure that there is no way they are putting the wrong man in jail. Then after their finding are cleared and the man is in no doubt guilty, send them to a torture chamber with HD video and stero surround sound and torture them to death and broadcast it on national tv so the world can watch and hear. Make that a standard process and you watch the murders go down to an all time low.

      October 13, 2010 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      You sir, are an idiot. Prison guard unions? You are aware that not all people in prison are there for murder, right? There would still be a need for prison guards even if there wasn't one convicted murderer in prison.Do you suggest we summarily execute all convicted murderers? What about manslaughter? What about the hundreds of overturned convictions and convicts who have later been proven innocent? You are a sadist, you must have a miserable life to want to witness a carnival of death. I wouldn't be surprised if you hated your life, and that's why you want to watch others die.

      October 13, 2010 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Also, you can throw in words like "logic" and "common sense" to bolster your argument, the problem is there is nothing logical about your argument, it is based on a wild assumption, not fact.

      October 13, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • public

      Plenty of countries publically execute....and years ago, it WAS a "carnival" atmosphere at beheadings.
      But it did not reduce crime. If you are insane, nothing is going to work. And he was clearly a bullet short of a full clip.

      October 13, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul Ronco

      The death penalty is a failure. Give him life in a Supermax without possibility of parole.

      October 13, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • junior

      TW, then we need to change the law. Those who don't want the death penalty get to support the criminals in prison and those who want the death penalty pay for the bullets. Sound ridiculous??? Of course, but so is the average of 16 years on death row so that the lawyers can steal as much from the taxpayers as they can. They should get one appeal and that's it.

      October 13, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • keith j

      couldnt agree more jim!

      October 13, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • susieq

      It's really hard to take seriously anyone who can't even spell "guards"

      October 13, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gidgit

      Actually, life in prison is cheaper than the death penalty. It only costs about 50K to keep someone in prison for life, and a murder trial costs (in Texas, about 1 million). However, a capital murder trial, before appeals, costs 3 million. So, it is cheaper to spend about 1.5 mil for life in prison, than 3 mil for the death penalty. (The cost of the death penalty goes up even more when appeals are factored in.)

      October 14, 2010 at 4:31 am | Report abuse |
  7. John3:16

    tears of joy...thank you God!!!

    October 13, 2010 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
    • George

      Thank you God for letting 6 people get killed and letting another 2 kids get stabbed in the head! Praise God!

      October 13, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      George, don't be an idiot. G*d didn't kill these victims a disgusting free willed criminal did. Go troll elewhere.

      October 13, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      Sorry typo, The word is elsewhere.

      October 13, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      LOL....so funny...God....as if there actually is one....what a riot you guys are...

      October 13, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. tomcat

    i agree with jim let him stand there no blind fold and stare down the barrel of five guns neither he nor the shooter knows whose round is live.

    October 13, 2010 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Brianc

      I agree with you. But, televise it too, set an example!

      October 13, 2010 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mjpd

    I remember watching that on the first 48. Im sure this guy cant wait to be put out of his own misery

    October 13, 2010 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      I saw it in the First 48 as well...I doubt he has remorse since he lied about it in the first place. The day his heart beat stops and his eyes never open will be a good day in this planets history.

      October 13, 2010 at 2:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      I think he just regrets he didn't manage to kill all the children and got caught. Please remember he cold bloodedly killed a 2 year old toddler and stabbed a 2month old multiple times. That baby, a 6year old, plus a 9 year old with a knife stuck in his head were left for dead, and were not discovered for two days. This is a conscienceless creature who would kill the survivors and the rest of the family too.

      October 13, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. hoss

    Den-o good plan but pay per view could get the cost of the whole thing back. its a win win

    October 13, 2010 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
  11. tomcat

    hell promote it as a real reality show the sponsers will line up for miles

    October 13, 2010 at 2:35 am | Report abuse |
  12. tomcat

    fill in the blanks if your gonna die drink.... it will satisfy your thirst dying of hunger eat.... it will fill you up like it was your last meal on earth

    October 13, 2010 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. patricia lumaava

    He must be redneck! Give him a taste of his own medicine!

    October 13, 2010 at 4:32 am | Report abuse |
  14. patricia lumaava

    Give him a taste of his own medicine!!

    October 13, 2010 at 4:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. wilson

    Don't execute him!!! Just put him down into that mine in Chile after they pull the last man out. Turn out the lights and leave him sitting in the dark all alone with no way out.

    October 13, 2010 at 5:47 am | Report abuse |
    • lilmama

      very good idea

      October 13, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • MsDennis

      That's the best post I've heard so far!

      October 14, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
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