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Dotson: 'I didn't confess to anything'

ESPN.com news services

CHESTERTOWN, Md. -- Carlton Dotson, the former roommate of Baylor University basketball player Patrick Dennehy -- who disappeared a month ago and whose body has never been found -- was charged Monday with murder, authorities said.

The warrant naming Dotson was issued by police in Waco, Texas, where both men played on the Baylor team, Chestertown Police Chief Walter Coryell said.

Sgt. Ryan Holt, a Waco police spokesman, told The Dallas Morning News that Dotson confessed to killing Dennehy and gave a description of a location of Dennehy's body. He told the newspaper that police were searching that location Monday night, but declined to elaborate.

But as Dotson left the Kent County court commissioner's office Monday night, he told a reporter: "I didn't confess to anything. Call the FBI." Shortly after his arrest, Dotson referred all questions to his lawyer.

Patrick Dennehy
Attorney Grady Irvin Jr. said in a telephone interview that he last spoke with his client over the weekend. He would not say what they discussed.

"It is most unfortunate that police have come to the conclusion that there is a death," Irvin said. "I am uncertain as to how they came to that conclusion, that Patrick Dennehy is now dead."

Holt also told the Morning News that investigators are trying to determine the accuracy of Dotson's account, including when and how the killing occurred.

Although a body has not been recovered, law enforcement sources in Texas and Maryland told the Waco Tribune-Herald in Tuesday's editions that they have a "general location" in McLennan County, Texas in which to search again based on information received during interviews Monday with Dotson.

Two officers escorted Dotson, wearing handcuffs, a T-shirt and jeans, into the police station about 9:20 p.m. He emerged about 15 minutes later with Coryell, another officer and an FBI agent.

Coryell said the 21-year-old behaved like "a gentleman'' while being fingerprinted and photographed, when he appeared briefly before the court commissioner and when officers drove him to the county jail.

"He seemed to be in an upbeat mode,'' the chief said. "He was very cooperative.''

Dotson will have another hearing Tuesday to discuss his bail and whether he wants to waive his right to an extradition hearing, Coryell said. If he opts not to have the extradition hearing, he will be returned to Texas, the chief said.

Chestertown police still didn't know, early Tuesday, why Dotson was in their Eastern Shore town Sunday afternoon. Chestertown lies about 55 miles from Dotson's hometown of Hurlock. Using his cell phone, Dotson called 911 from a grocery store at about 4:30 p.m., Coryell said.

When two patrol officers and a sheriff's deputy arrived, Dotson told them he "needed counseling'' and was hearing voices, Coryell said.

The officers took him to a hospital in town, where he was evaluated overnight but not admitted. Monday afternoon, still at the hospital, Dotson asked to speak with FBI agents.

The agents took him to an undisclosed location in Chestertown for the interview, Coryell said.

"I don't know that it was a confession,'' Coryell said, adding, "But I know the information he provided the FBI was the basis for Waco issuing this warrant.'' The chief said he hadn't seen a record of Dotson's statement and hadn't been briefed about it.

Calls to the FBI were not returned late Monday.

Irvin said he did not know what Dotson told authorities.

"I don't know if the arrest warrant is based on statements he (Dotson) made or information gathered through law enforcement agencies and their investigations," he said. "I'm sure that when I read the warrant, I am 100 percent certain that there will be information not previously available to my office."

Irvin, of St. Petersburg, Fla., said he would probably arrive Tuesday in Baltimore and travel to Chestertown to meet with Dotson.

Holt issued a statement saying Dotson contacted authorities in Maryland and said he wanted to talk to the FBI about Dennehy's disappearance. He said that after the interview, Waco police issued the warrant. He said his department would have no further comment until a news conference at 3 p.m. ET in Waco.

Baylor speech communication professor John Cunningham said Dotson called him Monday evening and announced: "I wanted to let you know that I've turned myself in to the FBI," The Morning News reported Monday in its online edition.

He said the 21-year-old Dotson sounded upset and confused, asking Cunningham, who taught both Dotson and Dennehy, to have "everyone pray for me so I can have safe passage wherever I go from here."

Bill Foy, Dotson's former coach at Paris Junior College in Texas, told ESPN Radio on Monday that he didn't believe Dotson was capable of being involved in murder.

"But I know that when you start having guns involved, and when I had heard the story about the informant had indicated there had possibly been an accident, I didn't really know what to think, but I guess deep down I thought that that possibly could have happened."

Asked what prompted Dotson to come forward, Foy said, "My feelings were he probably knew something all along, but I don't know what led him to contact the authorities. ... Hopefully what happened was that it was an accident and he just panicked.

Dotson voluntarily went Thursday to the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office near Hurlock to make a statement about Dennehy's disappearance. He was never in custody and was not arrested, leaving the office with his high school basketball coach.

Waco police declined to discuss what Dotson told authorities last week, saying only it did not change the course of the investigation.

Dotson returned last month to the Hurlock home he shares with his great-grandparents, Gilbert and Mildred Waters. A woman who answered the door Monday night said the couple had gone to bed. When told by a reporter that Dotson had been charged with murder, she said "you know more than we know" and slammed the door.

Dennehy's girlfriend, Jessica De La Rosa, choked back tears Monday night after she learned Dotson was charged with killing Dennehy.

"I was really, truly hoping in my heart that he was alive somewhere out there," she said. "I was hoping maybe he'd be hiding."

De La Rosa, 20, of Albuquerque, N.M., said the fact that Dennehy's body has not been found gives her some hope. "I can still have a glimmer," she said.

"I just can't believe that something like this would happen to such a great boy," Brian Brabazon, Dennehy's stepfather said in an interview with KWTX-TV of Waco. "Carlton was lucky enough to have known Patrick and let Patrick take him under his wing, give him a place to live and this is how Patrick was repaid."

Baylor athletic director Tom Stanton issued a statement on Dotson's arrest.

"We are struggling to find the right words and actions that would ease the pain of everyone connected to Patrick," it said. "We hope and believe that our thoughts and prayers are helpful ... There are no words to describe our grief or our feelings right now."

Dennehy's Chevrolet Tahoe was found June 25 in a strip mall parking lot in Virginia Beach, Va.

Authorities said Friday they were trying to determine if a 9mm handgun found Thursday at a Waco apartment complex near Baylor is related to Dennehy's disappearance.

According to an earlier search warrant affidavit, an unidentified informant told Delaware authorities that Dotson told a cousin he shot Dennehy as the two argued while shooting 9mm guns in the Waco area.

Dotson lost his basketball scholarship this spring and was not expected to play at Baylor next season.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Police Chief Walter Coryell details Carlton Dotson arrest.
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AllNight: Bill Foy, who was Carlton Dotson's coach at Paris (Tex.) JC, said the alleged murderer of Patrick Dennehy was never a problem.

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