Jessie Dotson Sentenced to Death in Lester Street Murders - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Jessie Dotson Sentenced to Death in Lester Street Murders


A jury said convicted killer Jessie Dotson should die for his crimes. Dotson received six death penalty sentences from a jury Tuesday for each of the 6 people he killed on Lester Street in 2008.

He'll soon be headed to Death Row.

Just after 5:00 pm Tuesday, Judge James Beasley read the jury's verdict, "We the jury unanimously find the punishment for the defendant Jessie Dotson shall be death."

No reaction from convicted killer Jessie Dotson as a jury of 9 women and 3 men sentenced him to death for each of the six people he murdered on Lester Street in 2008.

In the hallway, the Dotson family erupted in tears.

Earlier in the day, Jessie's sister Nicole said life or death didn't matter to them as long as Jessie never got out of prison.

"He took 6 to 7 lives. It's up to God to decide his fate," said Nicole Dotson.

Monday, Dotson was convicted of killing 6 people including his brother and 2 nephews, ages 2 and 4 years old. 3 other children survived stab wounds and lived to tell what happened.

It took a jury 90 minutes to decide Dotson's guilt and just a little longer to sentence him to death.

"When you have mass murder, all these people killed, women, children, the worst of the worst, I think any jury more than likely would come back like this jury," said prosecutor Reginald Henderson.

The defense was admittedly more surprised with the relative speed of the verdict than the verdict itself.

"I can't say it was totally unexpected with the aggravating factors they had the facts that they had, children involved in it, you know," said defense attorney Marty McAfee.

Before the jury deliberated Jessie's sentence, he changed into his prison garb, prosecutors say it was a sign of defeat.

"After being convicted of 6 counts of 1st degree murder at that point I think he was done with the process I don't think he really cared if it came back death or not and that's why he got out of his clothes, initially we thought he'd not come out at all," said Prosecutor Ray Lepone.

Prosecutors attribute the verdicts to a number of things, including Dotson's outburst on the stand. They say they took a risk but showed the jury the "real Jessie Dotson."
"If he's the individual who sliced up children with kitchen knives there's something inside him that he can't control and turn off and I knew I could get there," said Lepone.

Prosecutors say the case has affected them unlike any other. They and the Dotson family vow to follow and support the three surviving children through the rest of their lives.

"This is a miracle story on what they went through. A 2-month old laying next to her dead parents for 40 hours in a house of death is just mind boggling and this community cannot forget these kids just because this case is over," said Lepone.

"Anything that God has for them they're going to get. They got a chance, a second chance at life," said their aunt Nicole Dotson.

As for Jessie Dotson, a judge has scheduled lethal injection for March 2nd, 2012, the 4 year anniversary of the Lester Street massacre.

In court Jessie nodded and half smiled when the judge said, "may God have mercy on your soul."

Jessie will be housed at the Riverbend Maximum Security Prison in Nashville where he'll be on Death Row.

It's also where the execution chamber is located.

While on Death Row Dotson will be in a cell by himself. He'll be on lock down 23 hours a day and gets 1 hour of exercise.

He'll be sentenced for the three attempted murders of the surviving children, November 12th.

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