crimesider

Jessie Dotson Confession, Aired on "First 48," Disallowed in Memphis Massacre Case

Jessie Dotson in court with his defense attorney Gerald Skahan.
Jessie Dotson in court with his defense attorney Gerald Skahan. (WREG)
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (CBS/AP) Prosecutors in the capital murder trial of Jessie Dotson, charged with killing four adults and two children, won't be able to use a taped confession that aired on a realty crime show, a Memphis judge ruled Tuesday.

Judge James Beasley said Tuesday he disallowed the confession widely seen on the A&E program "The First 48" because other information may have been recorded but not aired that's also relevant to the case of Jessie Dotson.

Beasley said he was "uncomfortable" with the fact that many hours of Dotson's interrogation, which might be favorable to his defense, were no longer available, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported.

"I'm very much concerned with this videotape," Beasley said. "It's not in the control of the police or prosecutors. It's in the control of Hollywood."

The murders in March 2008, known as the Lester Street Massacre, were the worst mass killing incident in Memphis in decades, according to the Commercial Appeal.

Dotson allegedly told police that he killed his brother, Cecil Dotson, during an argument and then began eliminating witnesses, including two of his nephews aged 4 and 2, who were stabbed to death. Three of his brother's children survived and ranged in age from 4-months-old to 9-years-old.

One portion of the tapes that prosecutors sought to play for the jury is when Dotson tells his interrogators why he killed the children, according to the Commercial Appeal.

"The kids saw me," Dotson allegedly told homicide detectives in his statement filmed by the program. "I tried to get rid of the kids. ... I stuck 'em."

Jessie Dotson's attorney, Gerald Skahan, has said that information existed that Cecil Dotson had been in trouble with gangs and that the killings were retaliation for a $300,000 drug debt. Skahan said police interviews with gang members, taped by "The First 48" that might back up this assertion are no longer available "for whatever reason," the Commercial Appeal reported.

Dotson, 35, awaits scheduled trial in September on six counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

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