Murder of Patrick Dennehy

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Patrick Dennehy
Dennehy at Baylor
Personal information
Born(1982-01-28)January 28, 1982
Santa Clara, California
DiedJune 12, 2003 (aged 21)
Waco, Texas
Listed height6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)
Listed weight230 lb (104 kg)
Career information
High schoolSaint Francis
(Mountain View, California)
CollegeNew Mexico (2000–2002)
Baylor (2002–2003) redshirt
Career highlights and awards
2001–02 All-Mountain West Conference (hon. mention)
Career Mountain West statistics
Games Played63
Points404 (6.4 ppg)
Rebounds363 (5.8 rpg)

The murder of Patrick Dennehy occurred on June 12, 2003, when Dennehy, a 21-year-old basketball player at Baylor University, was shot by teammate Carlton Dotson.

Patrick Dennehy[edit]

Patrick James Dennehy (January 28, 1982 – June 12, 2003)[a] 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.[1] Carlton Dotson, a junior power forward on the Baylor basketball team who was a friend of Dennehy's, was charged with his murder, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 35 years in prison.[2] Dotson was also a transfer student, and had played two seasons at a junior college in Paris, Texas, before transferring to Baylor in the summer of 2002.

Carlton Dotson[edit]

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 is an inmate of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and, as of April 2017, is incarcerated in the John B. Connally Unit near Kenedy, Texas.[3] Dotson attended North Dorchester High School in Hurlock, Maryland. He played at the University at Buffalo[4] and Paris Junior College[5] before transferring to Baylor in the summer of 2002, where he played one season as a forward.[6]


In the summer of 2003, reports surfaced that Dennehy and Dotson were concerned about their safety. They had purchased two pistols and a rifle and practiced firing them at a farm north of Waco. Dennehy's friend Daniel Okopnyi said he spoke on the phone with Dennehy on June 14, and Dennehy said that he was worried about threats made to Dotson by two teammates.[7] Dennehy also indicated that he and Dotson would be at a party the following day, at which neither appeared.[7] 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,[8] and Dennehy's roommate, Chris Turk, returned from an out-of-town trip to find that Dennehy's dogs had not been fed in days. The last time that Dennehy had been seen was June 12.[9] 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.[8]

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,[10] 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.[8] On August 7, a memorial service was held for Dennehy in San Jose, California.[11]

Court case[edit]

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.[12] It is believed that his ex-wife also noticed he was hearing voices.[8] 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."[10]

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. He will be eligible for parole after he has served about half of his sentence, in 2021.[10][13] In December 2005, Dotson wrote a letter seeking permission to appeal his case; in January 2006, a judge ruled that Dotson had forfeited his right to appeal when he pleaded guilty.[13]

University reactions[edit]

The day Dennehy's body was identified, the current standing president at the time, Robert B. Sloan Jr., made a speech to the public where he described the discovery as having the community's "worst fears being realized" and that it was a heart-wrenching loss. He along with many other representatives from Baylor attended Dennehy's funeral. Baylor University also held a campus-wide memorial for Dennehy on August 28, 2003, in the Paul W. Powell Chapel.[14] There was a charity event held by Bill Cosby on September 4, 2003, at the Floyd Casey Stadium where he mentioned Dennehy when discussing people that had been lost throughout the year.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Carl Dotson's indictment for Dennehy's murder alleged that "Dotson shot Dennehy on or about June 12 [2003]".


  1. ^ "Patrick Dennehy Profile". Baylor University. 2003. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
  2. ^ Press, The Associated (2005-06-15). "Baylor player sentenced in murder". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2019-09-15.
  3. ^ "Carlton Eric Dotson, Jr". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  4. ^ "Men's Basketball Inks Six More Players" (Press release). University at Buffalo. May 17, 2000.
  5. ^ Murphy, Jarrett (July 31, 2003). "Baylor Suspect Hints Self Defense". CBS News. Retrieved January 14, 2011.
  6. ^ "Carlton Dotson". ESPN. Retrieved May 16, 2010.
  7. ^ a b "Friend: Missing Player Mentioned Threats". ABC News. July 2, 2013. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d Wiley, Ralph (August 5, 2003). "Two Dreams Die in Waco". Retrieved June 26, 2012.
  9. ^ "Key dates in Dennehy disappearance". August 8, 2003. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  10. ^ a b c Aydelotte, Rod (June 15, 2005). "Dotson sentenced to 35 years in Dennehy murder case". USA Today. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
  11. ^ Seeholzer, Don (August 8, 2003). "Dennehy memorial focuses on life, not death". Santa Cruz Sentinel. NYT. Retrieved April 7, 2017 – via
  12. ^ "Dennehy was murdered in 2003". Associated Press. 2005-06-09. Retrieved June 26, 2012 – via
  13. ^ a b "Judge denies Dotson's murder conviction appeal". Associated Press. January 11, 2006 – via
  14. ^ "The Baylor Lariat (Waco, Texas), Vol. 103, No. 1, Monday, August 25, 2003 :: The Baylor Lariat". Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  15. ^ "The Baylor Lariat (Waco, Texas), Vol. 103, No. 5, Friday, September 5, 2003 :: The Baylor Lariat". Retrieved 2018-11-28.

Further reading[edit]

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