Murder of Patrick Dennehy
The Murder of Patrick Dennehy occurred in June 2003 when Dennehy was shot by teammate Carlton Dotson.
Patrick James Dennehy (January 28, 1982 - June 2003) was an American college basketball player born in Santa Clara, California. Dennehy transferred to Baylor University from the University of New Mexico following his sophomore season in 2001-2002. In the summer of 2003, after redshirting the 2002-2003 season, he was preparing to play for the Baylor Bears in the upcoming 2003-2004 season. Carlton Dotson, a junior power forward on the Baylor basketball team was known to be a friend of Dennehy. Dotson was also a transfer student, having played two seasons at Paris Junior College in Paris, Texas before transferring to Baylor University in the summer of 2002.
Carlton Eric Dotson, Jr. (born June 1, 1982) is an American former college basketball player currently serving a 35-year prison term for the murder of Patrick Dennehy. Dotson attended North Dorchester High School. He played at University at Buffalo and Paris Junior College before transferring to Baylor in the summer of 2002, where he played one season as a forward.
In the summer of 2003, reports surfaced that Dennehy and Dotson were concerned about their safety. The two were roommates at an apartment complex close to campus, known as The Alamo. They had purchased two pistols and a rifle and practiced firing them at a farm north of Waco. On June 14, Dennehy told friend Daniel Okopnyi that he was worried about threats made to Dotson by two teammates. Dennehy also indicated that he and Dotson would be at a party the following day at which neither appeared. Over the next few days, there were indications that something had gone wrong: Dennehy's mother and stepfather, Valorie and Brian Brabazon, were concerned that they had received no calls on Father's Day, Dennehy's roommate, Chris Turk, returned from an out-of-town trip to find that Dennehy's dogs had not been fed in days. On June 19, the Brabazons filed a report with the Waco Police Department that Dennehy was missing. On June 25, Dennehy's Chevrolet Tahoe was found in the parking lot of a shopping mall in Virginia Beach, Virginia with its license plates removed, allegedly by Dotson.
An affidavit filed on June 23, which was unsealed on June 30, seeking a search warrant for Dennehy's computer says that an informant in Delaware told police that Dotson, who by now was at home in Hurlock, Maryland, told a cousin that he had shot and killed Dennehy during an argument while firing guns in the Waco area. On July 21, Dotson was charged with the murder of Patrick Dennehy and taken into custody in Maryland. The search for Dennehy continued until July 25, when a badly-decomposed body was found in a gravel pit near Waco and was taken to Dallas for an autopsy. While Dotson said he felt compelled to speak with the FBI, it's unknown whether his report led police to Dennehy's body. The following day, medical examiners identified the body as being Patrick Dennehy. On July 30, his death was ruled a homicide after a preliminary autopsy report showed that Dennehy died of gunshot wounds to the head. Upon discovery of Dennehy's remains, the head and body were discovered in separate locations. Whereas sensationalized news reports indicated Dennehy was decapitated, investigators believe this occurrence is most likely the result of scavenging desert animals. Dennehy was buried in San Jose, California on August 7.
On October 28, 2004, Dotson was declared incompetent to stand trial by District Judge George Allen and was sent to a state mental hospital to be reevaluated in four months' time. Three psychiatrists, including one appointed by the court, said that Dotson appeared to be suffering from hallucinations and psychosis, but that he could regain competency to stand trial in the future. Among other issues, Dotson believed people were trying to kill him because he was Jesus. It is believed that his ex-wife also noticed he was hearing voices. In February 2005, Dotson was returned to jail after psychologists deemed him competent to stand trial but that he must continue taking his anti-psychotic medication. The psychologist also said that Dotson's accounts of hallucinations and hearing voices were "suspect."
On June 8, 2005, five days before his trial for murder was to begin, Dotson unexpectedly pleaded guilty to killing Patrick Dennehy. On June 15, Dotson was sentenced to 35 years in prison and will be eligible for parole after he has served about half of his sentence in 2021. A judge ruled in January 2006 that Dotson had forfeited his right to appeal when he pled guilty after Dotson wrote a letter in December 2005 seeking permission to appeal his case.
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- Judge denies Dotson's murder conviction appeal