Attorney for Dennehy's father in civil suit says Dotson innocent

Updated: November 3, 2003, 6:38 PM ET
ESPN

FORT WORTH, Texas -- An attorney for the father of slain Baylor University basketball player Patrick Dennehy says his investigation shows that Dennehy was killed by someone other than Carlton Dotson, the former player charged in the crime.

"It is our belief, based on our investigation, that Dotson is innocent," Daniel Cartwright told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Cartwright is one of two Houston-based attorneys representing Dennehy's father, Patrick Dennehy Sr., who lives in Tacoma, Wash., in his lawsuit against former Baylor coach Dave Bliss and others.

The lawsuit was filed Aug. 22 in Houston. A hearing was scheduled for Monday to deal with motions by the defendants seeking to transfer the lawsuit to Waco.

"There are certain people at Baylor who know that, and they have been working very hard to cover that up, according to our investigation," Cartwright said.

Noley Bice, Baylor's general counsel, said Cartwright's statements do not merit a response because they do not include details or named sources.

Cartwright declined to reveal the evidence or identify potential suspects, saying he does not want to scare off witnesses who will be asked to provide depositions for the lawsuit.

Randy Plemons, McLennan County's chief sheriff's deputy, said his office is unaware that Cartwright has information clearing Dotson and would want to know what it is before commenting.

"Obviously, we wouldn't have pursued a case against Mr. Dotson and taken it to the district attorney's office unless we felt like we had a strong case," Plemons said.

Dennehy, 21, was missing about six weeks before his body was found July 25 near a gravel pit southeast of Waco. An autopsy revealed that he had been shot twice in the head.

Dennehy played two seasons for the New Mexico Lobos before transferring to Baylor in the spring of 2002.

Cartwright said his investigators found evidence indicating that at the time of the June shooting, three or four people were seen in the area where Dennehy's body was later found. He also said that Dotson and Dennehy, who were friends and roommates, feared for their lives in the weeks before the murder but did not fear each other.

On Wednesday, Dotson pleaded innocent to killing Dennehy. A day earlier, he was returned to Waco from Chestertown, Md., where he had been jailed three months. Dotson was arrested July 21 in his home state after asking to speak to FBI agents and telling them he had killed Dennehy, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

Russ Hunt, one of Dotson's two court-appointed attorneys, said he is open to receiving input from Cartwright.

In his lawsuit, Patrick Dennehy Sr. says that his son became the target of violent threats after saying he might expose wrongdoing in the Baylor men's basketball program. The suit says Dennehy was "lured to his death" by another player but does not identify the player.

Bliss resigned Aug. 8 after school investigators said he provided improper tuition payments for Dennehy and another player. A week later, assistant coach Abar Rouse gave university officials and the NCAA tapes of secretly recorded conversations in which Bliss told players to lie to investigators and say Dennehy paid his tuition by dealing drugs.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index