Accused Lester Street killer previously jailed for murder - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Nick Kenney

Accused Lester Street killer previously jailed for murder

Updated:

A steady stream of cars flowed past 722 Lester Street Monday, as onlookers continued to view the house there for themselves.

Inside the home was the scene of the worst mass killing Memphis has seen in decades. Jessie Dotson is accused of killing four adults and two children and trying to kill three others.

Just a short walk away, at 600 South Lauderdale, some remembered Jessie Dotson from long ago.

"Yeah, very creepy," said resident Janie Billings, " and he's a cold hearted son of a b----."

Dotson's criminal record is short, containing only two court cases since he turned 18.

Dotson was originally charged with first degree murder in 1994.  Police said he shot and killed Hallie Ralph Cox, and then stole $20 off his body.  Dotson pleaded guilty to second degree murder, and as part of a plea deal, he agreed to 18 years in prison.

Dotson was eligible for parole after serving just 30 percent of his sentence, or about 5 and a half years, but he didn't make parole for 13 years.

As part of his parole, Dotson was to serve the rest of his prison time if he was ever caught with a weapon or drugs, or if he was ever involved in any other criminal activity.  He was also required to check in with his parole officer on a regular basis.

Dotson's second criminal case is the murders at 722 Lester Street. Police believe Dotson, 33, shot and killed his brother, Cecil, and then tried to eliminate witnesses by attacking the three other adults in the house and Dotson's five children.

Jessie Dotson had recently been released from prison after serving 14 years for second-degree murder.

The case is just beginning to weave through court, but many in his old neighborhood hope Dotson never goes free again.

"I think they should give him the death penalty," South Lauderdale resident Patria Vassar said. "My heart goes out to the children."


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