Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Live By The Sword

I didn't post this story right away. I didn't want to sound unsympathetic to those loved ones left behind. Four adults and two children were killed. Three children were seriously injured. At first I thought the Hispanic gangs had finally struck. If robbers keep on viewing their people as targets. It's just a matter of time before they make their presence known in Memphis. I was mainly basing that assumption on, thinking it happened in another part of town. I thought it happened in the National/Raleigh area. I just couldn't see even young black hoodlums, killing helpless babies. Therefore I didn't even suspect a black perpetrator at first.

Police aren't saying how it happened. Whether the killings were caused by shooting or stabbing. Based on the number of adults that were killed. It's safe to say there was a gun involved, or at least several killers. All that killing someone had to scream. No one stood in line for their turn to die. They are being highly secretive with specifics of the case. Especially anything involving the five children. All we know is that the ages ranged from 18 months to 12 years. We don't even know when it happened yet. It could have been as long ago as Saturday night.

A leak has sprung surrounding the case, possibly stating who the owner of the house was. He was supposed to be in court this morning on a aggravated robbery charge. Needless to say, he didn't show. I would bet he probably had some seedy associates. Some that everybody in the house knew too. I think that's what happened here. Whoever did this, tried to kill all the witnesses. This lesson unfortunately won't help him and his family, but if you live by the sword. Guess how you'll die?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both children were boys.

10:09 PM  
Blogger Common said...

Kids survived brutal attack
Relatives clamor for information; police revealing little except to say crime scene was 'horrific'
By Christopher Conley (Contact)
Friday, March 7, 2008

One of the three children who survived the mass killings on Lester Street was found with a knife protruding from his head and another had two fingertips cut off, The Commercial Appeal learned Thursday.

Those details emerged on the day Gov. Phil Bredesen offered a $50,000 reward for the killers, bringing the fund to $80,000 when combined with the Memphis Crime Stoppers offer.

Police have remained tight-lipped, but the newspaper's investigation paints a picture of a crime scene the likes of which some investigators say they had never witnessed.

Tonasha Liggins last saw her cousin, Shindri Roberson, on Saturday.

Four adults and two children were killed at 722 Lester, just north of Summer in north Binghamton. Police believe the killings occurred sometime between Saturday night and Monday night, when the bodies were discovered.

Killed were Cecil Dewayne Dotson, 30, who rented the house; his girlfriend, Marissa Rene Williams, 27; Hollis Seals, 33; and Shindri Roberson, 22.

None of the children has been officially identified. Nicole Dotson said her brother was the father of all five children -- two named Cecil Dotson, ages 9 and 2; Cedric Dotson, 5; Cemario Dotson, 4; and a 2-month old girl, also a Dotson. Nicole Dotson was uncertain about the spelling of the infant's first name.

Relatives said the police have told them little about the crime scene other than indicating it was horrific.

"I feel like my nephews and nieces were tortured and my brother was made to watch in order for him to go through it," said Nicole Dotson. "I have no idea who did it, but I feel like it's somebody who knows him and knows those kids and that's the reason why they did that -- to hurt my brother -- and they did that so the kids would not identify them."

Relatives of Roberson also believe this was not simply a matter of quick executions.

Police said there were no signs of a break-in, and there was likely more than one killer. But they remained without a clear motive or a prime suspect Thursday.

Bredesen offered the state reward at the request of Dist. Atty. Gen. Bill Gibbons and County Mayor A C Wharton.

"These were heinous acts and those responsible need to be brought to justice," said Bredesen.

"We very much appreciate the governor acting so quickly to help the Memphis police solve this horrific crime," Gibbons said in a statement. "This brutal act of violence against four adults and five children is deplorable."

The reward is authorized "to the person or persons providing information leading to the apprehension, arrest and conviction of any person responsible for the apparent murder of four adults and two children, and the apparent attempted murders of three children," according to the governor's statement.

Two of the injured children remained in critical condition at Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center, while one has improved to noncritical. The children were being kept in isolation, even from their own families, for their protection, police said.

Detectives have been able to speak with one of the children, said Lt. Joseph Scott, who would not disclose what was said.

Detectives have questioned dozens of family members about the victims, gathering information about their associates and activities.

"We've gotten a lot of tips," Scott said, "but we need more.

"There is a lot of physical evidence. ... There are hundreds of pieces of evidence," he said. "It will be slow and methodical."

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which does forensic testing, has provided all assistance requested, Scott said.

Cecil Dotson, identified in jail records as a longtime Gangster Disciple, once lived at Holmes Street and Given Avenue in a house that was closed in August 2006 by Memphis police and the district attorney general's office as a public nuisance as part of the Blue Crush initiative. That day, seven homes -- part of what police called a "crack strip mall" -- were shut down.

Dotson was convicted in 1995 of aggravated assault and sentenced to four years in prison. During his stint, he and three other gang members were charged with assaulting another inmate, according to jail records.

In another development, police responded to a possible break-in of Nicole Dotson's apartment in the 2500 block of Goodwill Lane just after 10 a.m. Thursday. Although nothing was found, police returned to the apartment later in the day.

Pastor Frank Thomas of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church has been helping counsel and comfort some of the families of victims, and said the information void -- and rumor mill -- has added stress to the families.

"I know they are living with a whole whirlwind of speculation," Thomas said. "People will call them and say this and say that or they heard this and heard that, but there are no facts."

Reporters Richard Locker in Nashville and Zack McMillin and Jody Callahan in Memphis contributed to this story.

Contact reporter Chris Conley at 529-2595.


An account has been set up to help pay funeral costs and aid the surviving children. Donations are being accepted at all Bank of America branches and local churches. Make out checks to Lester Street Victims Fund.

If you have information that may lead police to the killers, call 528-CASH (2274). The reward has grown to $80,000.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Common said...

Lester Street attack victim's criminal record studied for leads
By Zack McMillin (Contact)
Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Little is publicly known about the victims of the mass killing at 722 Lester, but details began to dribble out Tuesday.

One of the victims appears to be the man renting the house in the far north section of Binghamton, Cecil Dewayne Dotson, and his criminal record emerged as one of the only possible clues to the mystery of why six people -- including two children -- were killed in an attack over the weekend. Three other children were severely wounded, two in extremely critical condition at Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center since police discovered the scene Monday night.

Cecil Dotson

Zella Cathey weeps and prays at First Baptist Church on Broad during a service for the six people found dead and three children left wounded at 722 Lester, around the corner from the church in the Binghamton neighborhood. Mike Brown The Commercial Appeal

A pit bull remains chained in the backyard at 722 Lester where six people were found dead and three children remain hospitalized with wounds from the weekend violence.

Those victims included Dotson, whose criminal background stretches back to Juvenile Court and includes an aggravated robbery charge from January for which the 30-year-old was to appear in court Tuesday.

According to an affidavit, on Jan. 9 Dotson was driving a green van that nearly hit a pedestrian near the bus stop at Walker and Brister. When the man yelled at him, Dotson stopped the van, pointed a .45-caliber handgun at him and took his wallet.

Dotson's criminal past also included reckless driving, assault and aggravated assault, as well as an order of protection filed against him. His Juvenile Court record included a slew of arrests -- aggravated assault, burglary of a building, criminal trespassing and unlawful possession of a weapon.

In 1995 Dotson, then 17, was transferred to Criminal Court for prosecution as an adult on the aggravated assault charge. Arrest records show in July of that year police responded to a shots-fired call to 578 Lauderdale. When they arrived, they found a woman with a gunshot wound to the right hand. Police records show "Dotson shot up the house" after a heated argument.

There have been no indications from police whether Dotson's criminal history is relevant to the killings, and his mother and sister insisted in an interview with WMC-TV Channel 5 that there was no reason to believe Dotson would be involved in a violent incident.

Nicole Dotson, his sister, and Priscilla Shaw, his mother, said others killed in the attack included Dotson's girlfriend, a male friend of Dotson's and that man's girlfriend. They said the two children killed in the attack were Dotson's, as are the three who were hospitalized.

"I'm lost," Shaw said. "I just lost my baby, lost my grand babies. They all gone. For what? And I don't know why."

The principal at Southern Avenue Charter School, Van Snyder, said two of the children involved in the attack were students at the K-3 school. He sent home a letter to parents, and said counselors were at the school Tuesday and will be there again today to help grieving teachers and students.

Snyder would not provide names, but said the students were both boys, one in kindergarten and the other a second-grader.

"The teachers who have been instructing the children are affected the most," said Snyder. "You think about the promise those children represented. Maybe we're talking about the next astronaut, the next school superintendent or a teacher or president."

He added: "Both of them were always cheerful and eager to learn, honor roll students, always polite and good boys."

11:18 PM  
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10:23 PM  

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